Stochastic Spatial Models in Ecology: A Statistical Physics Approach

Stochastic Spatial Models in Ecology: A Statistical Physics Approach Ecosystems display a complex spatial organization. Ecologists have long tried to characterize them by looking at how different measures of biodiversity change across spatial scales. Ecological neutral theory has provided simple predictions accounting for general empirical patterns in communities of competing species. However, while neutral theory in well-mixed ecosystems is mathematically well understood, spatial models still present several open problems, limiting the quantitative understanding of spatial biodiversity. In this review, we discuss the state of the art in spatial neutral theory. We emphasize the connection between spatial ecological models and the physics of non-equilibrium phase transitions and how concepts developed in statistical physics translate in population dynamics, and vice versa. We focus on non-trivial scaling laws arising at the critical dimension $$D = 2$$ D = 2 of spatial neutral models, and their relevance for biological populations inhabiting two-dimensional environments. We conclude by discussing models incorporating non-neutral effects in the form of spatial and temporal disorder, and analyze how their predictions deviate from those of purely neutral theories. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Statistical Physics Springer Journals

Stochastic Spatial Models in Ecology: A Statistical Physics Approach

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature
Subject
Physics; Statistical Physics and Dynamical Systems; Theoretical, Mathematical and Computational Physics; Physical Chemistry; Quantum Physics
ISSN
0022-4715
eISSN
1572-9613
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10955-017-1926-4
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Ecosystems display a complex spatial organization. Ecologists have long tried to characterize them by looking at how different measures of biodiversity change across spatial scales. Ecological neutral theory has provided simple predictions accounting for general empirical patterns in communities of competing species. However, while neutral theory in well-mixed ecosystems is mathematically well understood, spatial models still present several open problems, limiting the quantitative understanding of spatial biodiversity. In this review, we discuss the state of the art in spatial neutral theory. We emphasize the connection between spatial ecological models and the physics of non-equilibrium phase transitions and how concepts developed in statistical physics translate in population dynamics, and vice versa. We focus on non-trivial scaling laws arising at the critical dimension $$D = 2$$ D = 2 of spatial neutral models, and their relevance for biological populations inhabiting two-dimensional environments. We conclude by discussing models incorporating non-neutral effects in the form of spatial and temporal disorder, and analyze how their predictions deviate from those of purely neutral theories.

Journal

Journal of Statistical PhysicsSpringer Journals

Published: Nov 21, 2017

References

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