Stochastic Modelling in Ecosystems

An important ecosystem: the Cerrado in Brazil

An import­ant eco­sys­tem: the Cerrado in Brazil

Predicting eco­sys­tems responses under chan­ging envir­on­ment con­di­tions is one of the major chal­lenges in eco­logy. It is rendered more com­plex by the non-linear dynam­ics which char­ac­ter­ise eco­sys­tems and the par­tially stochastic nature of key drivers. Environmental drivers (includ­ing cli­mate, nutri­ents, fire, and herb­i­vores) change in time and space, some­times gradu­ally and smoothly, some­times less gradu­ally, even abruptly. Ecosystems may respond to changes in their envir­on­mental drivers in an orderly and con­tinu­ous way, but they may be quite unre­spons­ive over cer­tain ranges of envir­on­mental con­di­tions and then react rap­idly with strong changes, or shifts, when con­di­tions approach a crit­ical level or threshold.

It is due to these com­plex fea­tures of Ecosystems, stochastic mod­el­ling has become more and more pop­u­lar, not only because it is use­ful in the study of eco­sys­tems, but also presents many chal­lenges to math­em­at­ical research as well as provides eco­lo­gists, bio­lo­gists and math­em­aticians with a great oppor­tun­ity to col­lab­or­ate together. Although stochastic mod­el­ling in eco­sys­tems has been very hot for the past sev­eral years, there is a sig­ni­fic­ant gap between eco­lo­gists, bio­lo­gists and mathematicians.

Professor Xuerong Mao or Dr Andrew Wade from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland UK are organ­iz­ing a 2-day work­shop to bring research­ers (mainly from UK/EU) and their research assist­ants and stu­dents together to pro­mote, encour­age, and influ­ence more cooper­a­tion, and to bring together vari­ous dis­cip­lines e.g. eco­logy, bio­logy, math­em­at­ics, engin­eer­ing, com­puter sci­ence. As well as talks  and a poster sec­tion given by research stu­dents, there will also be spaces in the pro­gramme designed to encour­age inter­ac­tion between the attendees with the aim of pro­mot­ing fur­ther col­lab­or­at­ive research work.

More inform­a­tion about the work­shop is avail­able at http://​www​.math​stat​.strath​.ac​.uk/​s​e​m​i​n​a​r​s​/​s​t​o​c​h​a​s​tic .

Xuerong Mao.

Professor Xuerong Mao is Head of Department at the University of Strathclyde's Department of Mathematics and Statistics. His research focus is on Stochastic Systems. When he's not applying Stochastic Modelling to various fields from population dynamics to financial derivatives, he can be found relaxing with a book, listening to musics or painting.