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.

Zoom link (unless stated otherwise):

Past lectures

YouTube channel with the lecture videos and teaching material, etc.

How to subscribe for email reminders?

Twitter feed

Scheduled lectures

Holly Moeller (UCSB): Trade, Borrow, or Steal: Combining math and experiments to understand acquired metabolism

5 March, 2024

While biologists typically think of an organism’s metabolism as hard-wired in its DNA, in reality a vast array of species gain access to additional forms of metabolism through interactions with other species. This acquired metabolism can be obtained through interactions ranging from mutualism to predation, creating opportunities for niche expansion and, ultimately, evolutionary diversification. I’ll focus on two examples of acquired metabolism—tree-fungal mutualisms and chloroplast-stealing marine microbes—to illustrate how our research group seeks to combine mathematical and empirical approaches to understand how these acquisitions become established and proliferate throughout ecological communities.

Robin Snyder (Case Western): The role of luck in reproductive skew and individual success

26 March, 2024

Warning. It is Summer Time already in Europe, but not in the US. As usual, we start at 9 am Pacific, but is 4 p.m. in London and 5 p.m. in Paris.

In many species, a few individuals produce most of the next generation. How much of this reproductive skew is driven by variation among individuals in fixed traits, how much by external factors, and how much by random chance? And what does it take to have truly exceptional lifetime reproductive output (LRO)? Here we explain how to partition LRO skewness itself into contributions from fixed trait variation; four forms of “demographic luck” (birth state, fecundity luck, survival trajectory luck, and growth trajectory luck); and two kinds of “environmental luck” (birth environment, and environment trajectory). Each of these is further partitioned into contributions at different ages. We also determine what we can infer about individuals with exceptional LRO.

Anuraag Bukkuri (Moffit Cancer Center)

2 April, 2024

Mark McPeek (Dartmout)

16 April, 2024

Evan Johnson (Alberta)

30 April, 2024

Meike Wittmann (Bielefeld)

14 May, 2024