Bulletin of the American Physical Society
APS March Meeting 2018
Monday–Friday, March 5–9, 2018; Los Angeles, California
Session E49: Evolutionary and Ecological Dynamics - I
8:00 AM–11:00 AM,
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
LACC Room: 511A
Sponsoring Units: DBIO GSNP
Chair: Minsu Kim, Emory University
Abstract: E49.00011 : Spatial Structure in Microbial Competition Models*
10:24 AM–10:36 AM
Understanding the structure and behavior of diverse microbial communities is currently a major challenge in the life sciences. The interactions shaping these communities are physical processes, but are often modeled in a mean-field limit that neglects spatial structure. How does spatial structure affect the community-level properties of microbial ecosystems? We have developed a spatial model of two fundamental interactions between microbes: competition for resources and “chemical warfare” via secreted antibiotics. Our group recently showed that a metabolic trade-off constraint in a non-spatial model allows for degenerate steady states with diverse coexisting species. We find that 1D space preserves diversity, but selects a unique steady-state abundance and introduces a new dynamical time scale for relaxation to this steady state. The new time scale characterizes a regime where population dynamics slow down as resource diffusion speeds up. Interestingly, population fluctuations lead to rank-abundance curves that are indistinguishable from neutral and non-spatial models, suggesting a surprising universality at the ecosystem level.
*We acknowledge the NSF and Princeton LSI for funding.
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