Seed Dispersal

Award Year: 
Principal Investigator: 
Noelle Beckman, SESYNC
Clare Aslan, Northern Arizona University
Haldre Rogers, Iowa State University
Associated Program: 

Dispersal is a key process in the spread of populations, in biodiversity patterns from local to global scales, in gene flow and potential adaptation in novel environments, and in species responses to global change. Global change processes, such as climate change and fragmentation, alter local habitat conditions of species, and also the ecology and evolution of dispersal. These changes affect the ability of species to move or adapt in response to these processes. This workshop will assemble a diverse group of ecologists and mathematical biologists who study dispersal across scales, methodologies, and systems and who will bring together knowledge of existing empirical information, theoretical concepts, and mathematical approaches. The primary outcome of the workshop will be an evaluation of how data can be integrated with theoretical predictions and novel analytical, computational, and statistical advances for studying dispersal. The outcome will contribute to the ability to respond to global change. Collaborations among scientists will also be fostered.

A workshop will identify current gaps in our understanding of the role of seed dispersal in plant populations and determine how to address these outstanding gaps in order to move towards a predictive understanding of plant populations under global change. Seed dispersal ecology is largely based on short-term, local-scale empirical studies for a small number of species or on theoretical dispersal models that often make simplified assumptions. These factors limit generality the ability to make quantitative predictions. By integrating data with models, the workshop will lead to computer experiments to:

  1. gain a mechanistic understanding of the role of dispersal in plant population dynamics;
  2. test theoretical predictions using empirical data; and
  3. conduct sensitivity analyses to determine the robustness of conclusions to the type of available data, to missing data, and to different types of models.

Gaps in knowledge and obstacles to progress will be identified, and scientific networking will be enhanced.

Apply to Participate

We have selected a core group of 25 participants representing field ecologists, theoretical ecologists, and mathematical biologists, and are accepting applications to fill the remaining slots for this workshop.

Who can apply? You must be an early career scientist (e.g., grad students, postdocs, pre-tenure faculty) who studies the role of dispersal in populations from an empirical, theoretical, or mathematical approach. You must be able to commit to the entire week, and unfortunately, we cannot support anyone currently employed outside the U.S.

When and where is the workshop? May 9–13, 2016, at SESYNC in Annapolis, Maryland.

What does it cost? All workshop costs (flight from anywhere in the U.S. to Maryland, housing, and food) will be covered for the selected participants.

How do I apply? Send your CV and a cover letter in a single PDF to:

In your cover letter, briefly describe the following: 1) your mathematical, theoretical, or empirical approach to studying seed dispersal; 2) why you want to participate in this workshop; and 3) (if applicable) any relevant datasets you are willing to contribute to meta-analyses or review papers.

When are applications due? Applications are due by January 25, 2016.

This workshop is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1548194.

Jenny Zambrano, SESYNC
Maria Miriti, Ohio State University
Alan Hastings, University of California Davis
Joy Zhou, Mathematical Biosciences Institute
James Powell, Utah State University
Eugene Schupp, Utah State University
Liba Pejchar, Colorado State University
Bette Loiselle, University of Florida
Doug Levey, National Science Foundation
Gesine Pufal, University of Freiburg
Mike Neubert, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Katharine Gurski, Howard University
Sebastian Schreiber, University of California, Davis
Stephen Cantrell, University of Miami
James Bullock, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Damaris Zurell, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
Janneke HilleRisLambers, University of Washington
Katriona Shea, Pennsylvania State University
George Malanson, National Science Foundation
Judith Bronstein, University of Arizona
Evan Fricke, Iowa State University
Jeremy Johnson, Texas A&M University
Edu Effiom, CRS Forestry Comission
Christopher Strickland, Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute
Robin Decker, University of California, Davis
Rebecca Snell, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich)
Oleg Kogan, Cornell University
Manette Sandor, University of Connecticut
Onja Razafindratsima, Rice University
Florian Hartig, Universität Freiburg
Jedediah Brodie, University of British Columbia
John Poulsen, Duke University
Emilio Bruna, University of Florida
Associated SESYNC Researcher(s): 
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