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!