Dr Di Nguyen is an Assistant Professor in the School of Materials and Mechanical Engineering. Di investigated interdiction problems with uncertainty and risk in network matrices, including social and environmental contexts, emergency planning and social networks see her recent work here:
Asymmetric stochastic shortest-path interdiction under conditional value-at-risk:
This paper is fundamentally a review in which we also revise some key concepts of ecological null models applied to the study of networks. The content of the article is both very theoretical and applied, with practical implementations already available in open source software. At a theoretical level, when we try to reconstruct a network, the major question we ask is: how much information, and how many details are really needed to reconstruct the high level structural properties that characterise a network? Maximum entropy approaches from statistical mechanics are ideal to answer this question, and provide ecologists with a whole new set of modelling tools that in our view allow the construction of null models that best suit the high heterogeneity of ecological systems.
Dr Simone Ciuti (https://people.ucd.ie/simone.ciuti/publications) and his lab at UCD are joining Re-EcoNet bringing their social network datasets and expertise on wildlife biology. We are planning projects and platforms to analyse social interaction networks of animals such as deers, giraffes and others, aiming to understand how social interactions affect a range of dynamics including population growth, management, and the spread of diseases. Have a look at the UCD Wildlife Biology website here: https://sites.google.com/ucd.ie/wildl-ecol-behav-at-ucd
Second in person event of Re-EcoNet: Prof Joshua Schimel (https://www.eemb.ucsb.edu/people/faculty/schimel) delivering is interactive scientific writing workshop on how to structure a “story” to get the critical information in the right spots. The workshop concentrated on how to develop effective flow so that the writer’s ideas come across effectively and gracefully, which makes the reader’s job easy.
Finally, we have managed to have our first in person meeting!! Diego Garlaschelli and Virginio Clemente have been visiting UCD (Virginio within his PhD Erasmus + programme) and with Jon Yearsley and Miguel Bustamante, joined by Malbor Asllani, we have had a focused workshop on the stability of food webs, and how to reconcile an energy flux description with the population dynamics underlying energy fluxes. We are looking into maximum entropy approaches to randomise energy fluxes subject to constraints at the node level (in this case the amount of energy entering and leaving each species in the web) and then translate these randomizations in the randomization of the parameters that control the food web at the level of species population dynamics. We are also looking at the most robust way of estimating the parameters of the population level dynamics from the empirical estimates of energy fluxes. In the picture, Virginio at the whiteboard, Jon (on the left) and Diego (on the right), and also Malbor and Miguel (just his hand!). I am not there… as I was taking the picture!
Delivering food security from grasslands by understanding the link between root microbial networks and resilient agriculture.
We have been awarded funding from the Frontiers for the Future Programme of the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) for a project where we are investigating the hypothesis that the ecological networks established between plant species and root microbial symbionts (plant-root microbe network) both control and are affected by (through plant feedback) the response of grassland productivity, ecosystem exchanges, and root architecture to drought, flood, and their combination. We will search for plant-microbial associations that make the plant community more resistant or resilient to extreme weather events. The project has started early in January 2022, it involves many of the Re-EcoNet members and is supporting one PhD student and one Postdoctoral researcher who have recently joined the team at UCD. Stay tuned from more news!