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The problem of ecological diversity

  • The Graduate Center, CUNY (The Science Center, Rm 4102) 365 5th Ave. New York, NY 10016 USA (map)

A dramatic fact about life on earth is its diversity of form and function. This has become even more clear as modern sequencing tools allow us to survey large populations of microbes, in environments ranging from the human gut to the open ocean. Classical ecological models, however, predict rather limited levels of species diversity. In this symposium we will explore recent experimental developments, as well as new theoretical approaches, grounded in statistical physics. We will see glimpses of the solution to the qualitative problem of diversity, but also outlines of theories that can make more quantitative connections to experiment.

10:00 AM Coffee and bagels

10:30 AM A bottom-up approach to microbial community assembly
Jeff Gore, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

12:00 PM Lunch

1:30 PM The origin of chaos in large interacting ecosystems
Giulio Biroli, École Normale Supérieure

3:00 PM Coffee

3:30 PM Microbial diversity and spatio-temporal chaos
Daniel Fisher, Stanford University

Discussions will continue informally in Room 5301, into the evening. A light buffet dinner will be served.

Download Event PDF here.
Download Full Series PDF here.
Register here.

Sponsored by the Initiative for the Theoretical Sciences, and by the CUNY doctoral programs in Physics and Biology. Supported in part by the Center for the Physics of Biological Function, a joint effort of The Graduate Center and Princeton University. For more information please visit  and