Ecological network analysis and modeling provide new tools for studying how humans fit into and impact the stability of ecosystems through their complex direct and indirect interactions with other species. This talk will present results from quantitative analyses of food web network structure and bioenergetic dynamics modeling in relation to the pre-industrial trophic roles and impacts of Aleuts (Unangan) in North Pacific marine habitats. Professor Dunne will also discuss some implications of this study for sustainability of socio-ecological systems.
Jennifer Dunne is Chair of Faculty and Professor, Santa Fe Institute, and Co-Director of Pacific Ecoinformatics and Computational Ecology Lab. She received a Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley in 2000, held a NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biological Informatics from 2000-2002, co-founded the Pacific Ecoinformatics & Computational Ecology Lab in 2004, and joined the faculty of the Santa Fe Institute in 2007. Her research interests are in analysis, modeling, and theory related to the organization, dynamics, and function of complex species interactions. Much of this work focuses on trophic interactions, which provide the basic architecture for the flow of energy and resources in ecosystems and thus play a central role in ecological and evolutionary dynamics. Drawing on cross-system analysis and computational modeling, she seeks to identify fundamental patterns and principles of ecological network structure and dynamics at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Such research provides a useful framework for understanding the coexistence of species and the robustness, persistence, and stability of ecosystems given endogenous and exogenous effects.
To move beyond a narrow focus on extant ecosystems and charismatic plants and animals, she is extending the scope and impact of this research agenda through interdisciplinary collaborations with researchers from fields such as archaeology, art, computer science, economics, evolutionary theory, microbiology, paleobiology, parasitology, physics, and social science. In addition to basic research, she and her colleagues are developing new ecoinformatic technologies to facilitate sharing, synthesis, visualization, analysis, and modeling of information related to biocomplexity research. For more information, go to www.foodwebs.org.
Free and open to the public.