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Spatial modelling in plant ecology

By Ruth Juliet Hendry

Abstract

In this thesis a range of lattice based spatially explicit models of ecosystems are presented\ud and their applicability to various ecological situations is demonstrated with emphasis on plant\ud communities These mechanistic and individual based models which include coupled map\ud lattices and cellular automata aim to produce ecological insights and testable results Models\ud of both short and long term systems are developed with the former being potentially testable\ud in the eld and the latter promoting understanding where experimentation is not feasible\ud A range of graphical and numerical techniques were developed to investigate both plant and\ud animal model ecosystems\ud The starting point is a short term single species coupled map lattice which investigates popula \ud tion structure arising from local competitive interactions The model concludes that increase of\ud size variation with increasing density indicates the presence of competitive intraspecic asymme \ud try This idea is applied to crop data where considerable asymmetry is identied emphasising\ud the need for balancing crop yield and size consistency\ud Multispecies extensions to this model focus on spatial patterning arising from biotic interac \ud tions and various numerical techniques underline the asymmetrical relationship between long \ud and short lived species Environmental heterogeneity is imposed on the plant species in a third\ud version of the model via the incorporation of an explicit resource base The complex inter \ud dependence of community and environment is highlighted and illustrated by a model of the\ud evolution of seed sizes\ud Through the application of cellular automata to forest and epidemiological systems the concept\ud of memory such as age or stage structuring is shown to be vital in the generation of spatial\ud structure in long term ecological systems Analytical investigations generate further insights and\ud again emphasise the crucial role played by spatial extensiveness in the wide range of ecological\ud situations considered here\ud In conclusion lattice models are ideally suited to the study of ecosystem

Topics: QK
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:1126

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