Ecosystem responses to climate change across different levels of organization

by Prof. Ehud Meron

Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research & Physics Department, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
at Biological and soft-matter physics

Thu, 24 Mar 2022, 12:10
Zoom -


Understanding the response of dryland vegetation to climate extremes, such as severe droughts,
is of utmost importance in light of the crucial ecosystem services that dryland vegetation provides
to humans and the projections for more frequent and intense events in the future. The response
is likely to involve mechanisms operating at different levels of ecological organization, including
phenotypic changes (organism level), spatial self-organization (population level) and community
reassembly (community level). In this talk I will describe the modeling approach that we use to
study multi-level responses, and new dynamical behaviors that emerge from such responses.
These include multi-scale spatial patterning induced by phenotypic changes from shallow-roots
to deep-roots plants along with spatial self-organization, and a homeostatic-like effect of spatial
patterning on community composition and species diversity. Relations of some of the results to
fairy-circle patterns in Namibia will be discussed.

Relevant references:
Meron E. From Patterns to Function in Living Systems: Dryland Ecosystems as a Case Study. Annual
Review of Condensed Matter Physics 9, 79-103 (2018).
Meron E. Vegetation pattern formation: the mechanisms behind the forms. Physics Today, 72, 30 (2019).
Bidesh K. Bera, Omer Tzuk, Jamie J. R. Bennett, and Ehud Meron. Linking spatial self-organization to
community structure and biodiversity. eLife 10, e73819 (2021).

Created on 16-03-2022 by Feingold, Mario (mario)
Updaded on 23-03-2022 by Feingold, Mario (mario)