Held Jointly with the
2004 SIAM Annual Meeting

Oregon Convention Center
Portland, Oregon

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The Structure and Nonlinear Robustness of Complex Ecological Networks

Neo Martinez, Pacific Ecoinformatics and Computational Ecology Lab

Ecologists have long specified and investigated ecosystems as networks or "food webs" comprised of species connected by their feeding relationships. Nonrandom aspects of their topology was recognized 30 years ago and research on interactions between a few nodes comprising food-web modules helped initiate some of the earliest studies of nonlinear dynamics.

In the following three decades, the large scale topology of food webs and more recently, their high dimensional nonlinear behavior have become increasingly well understood. After briefly describing this history, several of the newest and more important advances will be discussed including theinterplay between topology and dynamics such as the effects of network complexity on the robustness of population dynamics and the persistence of species.

Other advances including the effects of spatial patterns and environmental variability will also be discussed along with surprisingly realistic in silico experimental deletions of species. The presentation will conclude by describing how informatics, computers, math and statistics will likely address future research on ecological networks. Throughout the talk, the lessons that ecologists' other network scientists' research on complex dynamic networks will be emphasized.


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