CASUS Institute Seminar, Daniel B. Stouffer, University of Canterbury Christchurch, New Zealand
Interactions are a defining characteristic of every species’ “milieu”. Indeed, no individual organism exists without participating in some sort of ecologically relevant interaction during its lifetime. By definition, the more species and individuals in an ecological community, the more potential interactions that could take place. But does this imply that ecological models must fully embrace this apparent complexity in order to work and, more importantly, work well? In this talk, I will highlight recent research in which our conclusion is a resounding yes and other recent research in which our conclusion is a resounding no.
Finally, I will describe how the motivation behind our use of ecological models can help us decide whether complexity or simplicity should win out when modeling species interactions.