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NIMBioS Seminar Series

In conjunction with the interdisciplinary activities of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), a seminar series on topics in mathematical biology will be hosted at NIMBioS every other Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) in the Hallam Auditorium, Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd. 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 in Room 205 beginning 30 minutes before each talk. Faculty and students from across the UT community are welcome to join us.

N. Johnson photo.

Time/Date: Tuesday, September 8, 2015, 3:30 p.m.*
Location: Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Speaker: Dr. Nels Johnson, NIMBioS postdoctoral fellow
Topic: Nonparametric Bayesian functional equivalence models for community data
Abstract: Ecological community data frequently contain large numbers of sparsely observed species. Reducing the number of species used in a community analysis can make model estimation and interpretation much easier. However, choosing this reduction is non-trivial. Important species can be left out of the analysis or combined inappropriately. We introduce a nonparametric Bayesian model to simultaneously learn about the groups of functionally equivalent species and the corresponding parameter values of each group for describing an ecosystem function. We motivate this work using a community of methane-consuming soil-bacteria from across the North American Great Plains.

*Join us for refreshments at 3 p.m.

Seminar Flyer (pdf)

This seminar was not live-streamed.

N. Johnson.

For more information about this and other NIMBioS Seminars, visit

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NIMBioS is supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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