Talk: 27mar2018
Romancing the J-curve: steps towards a working theory of biodiversity

Kee Dewdney (Western University)

Time: Tuesday, Mar 27, 3:30–4:30 PM

Location: MC 107


Computer simulations have paved the way to a working hypothesis of how the individuals in most living species appear to behave over time. The Stochastic Species Hypothesis (SSH) declares that, over suitable lengths of time, each individual is as likely to die as to reproduce. This results in a normal distribution of such events and, in turn, becomes the statistical driver for an equilibrium process in communities, an equilibrium process that results in a hyperbolic distribution of species vs abundances. The resulting density function is shown to be a pure hyperbola (y=c/xycx) translated by small amounts of epsilon and delta to intersect the axes and produce, in consequence, a truncated density function. The resulting proposal has its work cut out for it in confronting some dozen proposals that have emerged since the 1930s from a cottage industry of (essentially) guesswork by population biologists. The resulting J Distribution is deployed, via the Pielou transform into a method for making accurate estimates of the species richness in a living community—the holy grail of population biology. But does it actually work? You be the judge by reviewing the results of a massive meta-study that appears to strongly support that claim.

Prof. Dewdney's new book Stochastic Communities: a Mathematical Theory of Biodiversity (CRC Press, 2017) will be available for inspection at his presentation.
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