A multidisciplinary approach to pattern formation in ecology
October 26, 2016 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Howey - School of Physics – Room N110 (subject to change)
Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
School of Physics Soft Condensed Matter & Physics of Living Systems Seminar: Prof. Johan van de Koppel, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Most examples of self-organized spatial patterns in ecosystems are based on Alan Turing's activator-inhibitor principle, where pattern formation is driven by spatial variation in biological growth conditions. I will highlight a new mechanism of pattern formation in ecosystems that is based on the individual movement of animals, and is akin to the physical principle for phase separation, known to explain pattern formation in alloys such as steel or bronze. Using models and experiments, I will argue that both processes can occur simultaneously, and interact to determine the resilience of ecosystems to disturbances and changing environmental conditions.