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Mathematical ecology: modeling biological invasions 

Ecología Matemática: modelado de invasiones biológicas

Organisms spreading outside of their native ranges have been called  invaders. The process by which an invader arrives and spreads into the new territory is called ecological invasion, and has been recognized as potentially damaging for ecosystems functioning.  The spread of an invasive alien organism in a natural system depends on different factors, like life history and demographic traits of the alien species, environmental conditions of the invasion system, interspecific interactions between the alien and the native species, etc.. Through mathematical modeling we try to answer basically the question: What makes a good invader?  We are mainly interested on sessile organisms (adult individuals do not move, for instance, plants) and their dispersal strategies (e.g, seeds dispersal).

Organismos que se propagan fuera de su ámbito nativo son llamados invasores. El proceso mediante el cual un organismo se introduce y propaga en un nuevo territorio se conoce como invasión ecológica y ha sido reconocido como potencialmente nocivo para el funcionamiento de ecosistemas. La propagación de un organismo foráneo invasivo en una sistema natural depende de múltiples factores, tales como aspectos de historia de vida y demográficos del invasor, condiciones ambientales del sistema invadido, interacciones entre las especies nativa y foránea, etc.. A través del modelado matemático tratamos básicamente de responder la pregunta: Que hace que un organismo sea un buen invasor? Estamos interesados principalmente en organismos séssiles (los individuos adultos no se mueven, como por ejemplo, plantas) y sus estrategias de dispersión (por ejemplo, dispersión de semillas).


The following videos illustrate the difference between the spread patterns for species with Long Distance Dispersal (LDD) and Short Distance diespersal (SDD) from a single dispersal focus (a unique mature individual at the centre of the area). An example of LDD is the mechanism of seeds dispersal of seeds by wind in trees, while an example of SDD is gravity (seeds fall close to the parental).  The videos were obtained using numerical simulations on a mathematical model (See article). Dark points correspond to mature (reproductive) individuals while light points correspond to non mature ones.





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