Patterns in Nature
In this talk, mathematical biologist Corina Tarnita discusses how spatial patterns in ecosystems provide insight into how these ecosystems function.
Regular spatial patterns occur in many different ecosystems and at various scales. In semiarid ecosystems, patterns in vegetation reflect water stress levels and how these ecosystems might respond to future changes. Another striking pattern in the African savanna is the regular arrangement of termite mounds. This pattern arises from intraspecies competition and results in an optimal packing of termite mounds across the landscape. Mathematical models developed by Tarnita and her team suggest that the spatial arrangement of the mounds makes the savanna ecosystem more likely to withstand and recover from periods of drought.
This talk is from a 2015 Holiday Lecture Series, Patterns and Processes in Ecology.
biomass, catastrophic collapse, colony, competition, ecological resilience, hysteresis, precipitation, vegetation