Competition, Phenotypic Adaptation, and the Evolution of a Species' Range

Mathematical Biology Seminar
Wednesday, March 30, 2022 - 10:00am for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Farshad Shirani – School of Mathematics, Georgia Institute of Technology –
Afaf Saaidi

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Why is a species’ geographic range where it is? Immediate thoughts such as penguins cannot climb steep cliffs or colonize deserts are often not the answer. In fact, identifying causes of species’ range limits is a fundamental problem in evolutionary ecology that has crucial implications in conservation biology and understanding mechanisms of speciation.

In this talk, I will briefly introduce some of the biotic, genetic, and environmental processes that can determine a species’ range. I will then focus on two of such processes, competition and (mal)adaptation to heterogeneous environments, that are commonly thought to halt  species’ range expansion and stabilize their range boundary. I will present a model of species range dynamics that incorporates these eco-evolutionary processes in a community of biologically related species. I will discuss biologically plausible ranges of values for the parameters of this model, and will demonstrate its dynamic behavior in a number of different evolutionary regimes.