Thu, 05 Nov | Zoom Webinar

The structure and dynamics of mutualistic networks

Keynote by Elisa Thébault, with a talk on "Discrete-event models as a way to explore non-reproducible behaviour in ecological networks" by Mathieu de Goër de Herve
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The structure and dynamics of mutualistic networks

Time & Location

05 Nov 2020, 16:00 – 18:00 CET
Zoom Webinar

About the Event

In natural communities, the organization of interactions between species often presents non-random patterns at the origin of complex network structures. Understanding the mechanisms which determine these complex networks, as well as the consequences of these structures on biodiversity persistence and stability, is an important challenge. Here I will briefly present the results of two models of pollination networks linking network structure and persistence. I will also discuss some specificities of the dynamics resulting from mutualistic interactions in comparison to antagonistic ones. - Elisa Thébault, CNRS & IIERS, Paris, France


Real-life ecological systems display stochastic behaviour. However, the differential equations widely used to compute the dynamics of ecological networks are usually unable to take into account this part of their behaviour, because they are deterministic. In addition, these models rely on a large amount of parameters that are often difficult to measure precisely.

Using qualitative and possibilistic models based on transition rules, we are able to characterize all possible transformations that a given ecological network can undergo. While we cannot access fine details of the system's dynamics, it allows us to obtain a complete map of the system's possible trajectories. We applied this model to a set of experiments that studied the survival or collapse of communities of protists. Based on the knowledge of pairwise inter-specific interactions, we are able to efficiently predict the set of possible outcomes and to identify which community compositions lead to divergent results, as well as the corresponding bifurcations in the system's trajectory. - Mathieu de Goër de Herve, INRAE & AMAP, Montpellier, France

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