In conjunction with the interdisciplinary activities of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), a seminar series will be hosted at NIMBioS every other Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. in the NIMBioS Lecture Hall on the 4th floor of 1534 White Ave., Suite 400 Seminar speakers will focus on their research initiatives at the interface of mathematics and many areas of the life sciences. Light refreshments will be served starting at 3 p.m.
Time/Date/Location: 3:30 p.m., Dec. 8, NIMBioS Lecture Hall, 1534 White Ave., Suite 400
Speaker: Dr. William Godsoe, NIMBioS Postdoc
Topic:I can't define the niche but I know it when I see it: using probability theory to understand species distributions
Abstract: Some of the most important hypotheses in ecology are ideas about how species distributions change over space and time. Our theoretical understanding of species distributions is a rich amalgam of many ecological processes including dispersal, extinction, biotic interactions and abiotic environmental requirements. That said empiricists can usually only measure a fraction of these processes in any given system. Here I argue that this disconnect represents a major challenge for ecology and particularly for correlative models of species distributions. I then show that we can use probability theory to develop an intuitive understanding of the relationship between complex mathematical models and available empirical data. My results focus on interpreting climate models in the face of biotic interactions and inferring ecological divergence with presence data.