Working Group

Mechanistic distribution models: energetics, fitness, and population dynamics

PI(s): Lauren Buckley (Santa Fe Institute)
Michael Angilletta (Indiana State University)
Robert Holt (University of Florida)
Joshua Tewksbury (University of Washington-Seattle)
Start Date: 1-Mar-2007
End Date: 28-Feb-2009
Keywords: biogeography, physiology, species interactions

Biologists must understand the dynamics of species distributions to address questions about community structure and to predict distributional shifts over space and time. Despite recent theoretical progress, predictions of species' ranges still rely largely on correlational methods. Our working group will achieve a more dynamic and mechanistic understanding of species' distributions by incorporating individual energetics, fitness curves, population dynamics, and evolutionary change. Several distinct, but complementary, mechanistic models of species' distributions were recently published and share strong mechanistic and physiological bases. The working group will evaluate these mechanistic models, synthesize salient features of each, and generalize the synthetic model to include physiological adaptation (both plastic and evolutionary), species interactions, and dispersal limitations. Model development and empirical validation will focus on predicting climate-induced shifts in native ranges and the spread of invasive species using both modern and paleontological data.

Related products

  • Buckley, L et al. 2008. Mechanistic distribution models: Incorporating demography and physiology. Ecological Society of America Organized Oral Session, Duke University, and University of North Carolina.