Theoretical Ecology Webinar

We operate an international seminar series on Theoretical Ecology via Zoom since September, 2020. With some exceptions, the hour-long events are held on every other Tuesday at 9 a.m. Pacific Time, which corresponds to 5 p.m. in London and 6 p.m. in Paris most of the time. Our invited lecturer speaks for cc. 20-30 minutes. The rest of the hour is for questions and discussions, which are often lively. The seminars are recorded and posted on our YouTube channel. We send out notifications before each lecture via email and Twitter. The webinar is organised by György Barabás (, Géza Meszéna ( and Chris Terry ( Any comment, or suggestion are welcome.

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Scheduled lectures

Jonas Wickman (Michigan): A theoretical framework for trait-based eco-evolutionary dynamics: population structure, intraspecific variation, and community assembly

14 February, 2023

How is trait diversity in a community apportioned between and within co-evolving species? Disruptive selection may result in either a few species with large intraspecific trait variation (ITV) or many species with different mean traits but little ITV. Similar questions arise in spatially structured communities: heterogeneous environments could result in either a few species that exhibit local adaptation or many species with different mean traits but little local adaptation. To date, theory has been well-equipped to either include ITV or to dynamically determine the number of coexisting species, but not both. Here, we devise a theoretical framework that combines these facets, and apply it to the above questions of how trait variation is apportioned within and between species in unstructured and structured populations, using two simple models of Lotka-Volterra competition. For unstructured communities, we find that as the breadth of the resource spectrum increases, ITV goes from being unimportant to crucial for characterizing the community. For spatially structured communities on two patches, we find no local adaptation, symmetric local adaptation, or asymmetric local adaptation depending on how much the patches differ. Our framework provides a general approach to incorporate ITV in models of eco-evolutionary community assembly.

Caroline E. Farrior (Texas): TBA

28 February, 2023

Jürg Spaak: TBA

7 March, 2023

Chrissy Hernandez (California State): Life Table Response Experiments

14 March, 2023

In the study of matrix population models, Life Table Response Experiments (LTREs) are comparative analyses that decompose the realized difference or variance in population growth rate into contributions from the differences or variances in the vital rates. We have derived an exact LTRE method, which includes interactions among vital rates. We will present the method, show how it compares with the classical (approximate) method, and discuss advantages and limitations to interpreting interactions among vital rates.