E&E Special Seminar: Modelling movement and interactions of biological organisms: resolution of a hundred year old problem on lattice random walks

In many biological processes the emergence of spatio-temporal patterns depends on the interaction between pairs of individuals, agents or subunits comprising the whole system. Theoretical predictions of such patterns rely upon quantifying when and where interaction events might occur. Null models that allow to estimate such interaction events have been lacking. In this talk I will present a formalism that allows to do that and will discuss practical examples to show the general applicability of such formalism. Applications include the determination of the basic reproduction number, R0, in a spatially explicit epidemiological scenario, the analysis of counterintuitive evasive strategies in a predator-prey contest, the quantification of thigmotaxis, i.e. the tendency of an animal to remain close to the edges of a confining domain, and the exploration of enhancement strategies of transdermal drug delivery through the stratum corneum of the epidermism.


PhD in physics from the University of New Mexico, USA, then postdoc in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton with Simon Levin, then moved to Bristol to start the academic career, where I am now Reader in Complexity Sciences. In 2013 I co-founded the journal Movement Ecology and I have been co-Editor-in-Chief since. This year I am the lead organiser of a 6-month programme at the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge on the Mathematics of movement: an interdisciplinary approach to the mutual challenges in animal ecology and cell biology.