CASUS Institute Seminar, Ricardo Martínez-García, PhD, Young Investigator Group Leader at the Center for Advanced Systems Understanding CASUS at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR)

Ricardo is an expert in statistical physics and complex systems. With a Life Science Research Foundation fellowship he completed a postdoc in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University (USA). Later on, he worked at the South American Institute for Fundamental Research in São Paulo (ICTP- SAIFR) where he became an Assistant Professor in the field of biological physics. Ricardo joined CASUS in late 2022.

Abstract of the talk // Water-limited ecosystems are highly complex, covering 40% of the Earth’s land surface. The spatial self-organization of these ecosystems results in strikingly regular patterns that are considered important indicators of ecosystem health. In this context, the shape of the patterns could e. g. provide important clues as to whether the ecosystem is on the verge of transitioning to desertification. The plant interactions underlying pattern formation remain unclear. In the absence of empirical evidence of how these patterns emerge, mathematical modeling plays an important role in formulating various hypotheses.

However, models that assume different mechanistic origins for patterns have contradicting ecological consequences for them. In this context, a new approach to understand vegetation dynamics in water-limited ecosystems is needed. This new approach focuses on unveiling how plants interact with each other and how those interactions scale to large population sizes. In the seminar, Ricardo will discuss his plans to develop such an approach leveraging a combination of mathematical modeling, greenhouse experiments, satellite imagery, and remote sensing data.

Ricardo heads the CASUS Young Investigator Group “Dynamics of complex living systems”. He will talk live at the Institute Seminar. However, as the event is organized in a hybrid format that includes a videoconferencing tool by Zoom Inc., people interested in the topic have the chance to also join the talk remotely. Please ask for the login details via