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COMPLEX TIME: Adaptation, Aging, & Arrow of Time

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Irreversible Processes in Ecological Evolution/Irreversible processes in ecological networks

From Complex Time

January 30, 2019
9:45 am - 10:45 am


Fernanda Valdovinos (Univ. Michigan)


Inspired by the exciting topic of this workshop, my talk will present research by my group that have found irreversible processes in the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of species-interaction networks. The first work I will present evaluates the interplay between the structure and dynamics of plant-pollinator networks when population and behavioral dynamics are incorporated in more mechanistic models of those networks. I will focus on the irreversible dynamics caused by adaptive foraging that may explain why we only observe moderately connected plant-pollinator networks in nature even when pollinator would benefit from fully connected networks. The second work I will present predicts the invasion success of pollinators in plant-pollinator networks and their subsequent impacts on natives. I will focus on the impacts that can and cannot be reversed by restoration practices seeking to remove the invasive species. The third work I will present evaluates the interplay between economic and ecological dynamics governing fishing effort in harvested food webs. I will focus on the irreversible transients that cause a fisheries industry to either thrive or collapse, the harvested species to either go extinct or persist, and food webs to suffer either dramatic cascade extinctions or sustainable harvest. Finally, I will present our work on the evolution of food webs integrating population, speciation and invasion dynamics over evolutionary timescale. I will focus on the irreversible extinctions patterns and whether the specialization tendency found can be reversed by increasing the frequency of perturbations. In my presentation of each of those four projects I will share with you what I still do not understand to hopefully ignite insightful discussion on the specific subjects.

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Post-meeting Reflection

Fernanda Valdovinos (Univ. Michigan) Link to the source page

Pamela Martinez:

Very interesting research on how strain diversity can affect disease spread. I learned a lot about best practices on how feetting models to data because of the discussion this work provoked.

Annette Ostling:

Impressive work of testing the prediction of a competitive model of plant species with empirical data. The authors found that clustering happens in tropical forests due to niche partitioning. I learned much on different competitive models.

Greg Dwyer:

This talk was very useful for me to understand ways in which empirical data and models can interplay to make concrete predictions that can inform management. The applied case of informing agencies when to spray the forest with virus to stop the tree disease was very illuminating.

Otto Cordero:

Interesting application of ecological theory to microbial communities. I really enjoyed the way the speaker identified biological mechanisms in his empirical system and was able to connect the modeled dynamics to those empirically tested mechanisms.

Priyanga Amarasekare:

This talk made me think in a deeper way about constraints on phenotipic/genotipic variation that can help us understand how ecological system may respond to human perturbations such as climate change.

Fernanda Valdovinos (my talk):

It was extremely helpful for my research the in depth discussion that the audience provoked on the details of my model. The dissecting questions I received on my equations and their consequences were very illuminating. I will definitely use some of the new understanding I acquired trough answering those questions in the paper I'm currently working on. I also really appreciate the philosophical question that Greg asked me over the break and Jacopo helped to answer. That question was about what are we actually learning by using a network approach instead of just many differential equations as we have been doing for years in ecology prior networks. I would really like to further discuss this question as a group tomorrow.

Stephen Proulx:

Amazing talk that helped me better understand adaptive dynamics, how we can read mutation/invasion maps and how to make better use/understanding of fitness landscapes. It was fascinating to me the trade-off example on plant fertility-survival that showed a clear case in which small vs large mutations can drive the genotype/phenotype of plants to different attractors. I also liked a lot one of the speakers questions on how to produce general theory from non-equilibrium cases and the discussion that question provoked.

Reference Material

I uploaded the three papers I presented in my talk:

Valdovinos et al (2013), Oikos: here I propose the model for the first time and use empirical networks.

Valdovinos et al (2016), Ecology Letters: Main results I presented in my talk. Niche partitioning via adaptive foraging reverses the effects of nesteness and connectance on species persistance in plant-pollinator networks.

Valdovinos et al (2018), Nature Communications: I used my model to generate a predictive framework on the invasion of alien pollinators and the subsequent effect on native species within plant-pollinator networks.

Brosi & Briggs (2013), PNAS: This is the data we used to test the prediction of my model on pollinators preferring specialist plants, when standardizing by plant and pollinator abundances.

Title Author name Source name Year Citation count From Scopus. Refreshed every 5 days. Page views Related file
Adaptive foraging allows the maintenance of biodiversity of pollination networks Fernanda S. Valdovinos, Pablo Moisset de Espanés, José D. Flores, Rodrigo Ramos-Jiliberto Oikos 2013 64 6 [ Download]
Niche partitioning due to adaptive foraging reverses effects of nestedness and connectance on pollination network stability Fernanda S. Valdovinos, Berry J. Brosi, Heather M. Briggs, Pablo Moisset de Espanés, Rodrigo Ramos-Jiliberto, Neo D. Martinez Ecology letters 2016 42 1
Species traits and network structure predict the success and impacts of pollinator invasions Fernanda S. Valdovinos, Eric L. Berlow, Pablo Moisset De Espanés, Rodrigo Ramos-Jiliberto, Diego P. Vázquez, Neo D. Martinez Nature Communications 2018 22 3
Single pollinator species losses reduce floral fidelity and plant reproductive function Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2013 0 1