EcolChange seminar – Carlos Carmona on trait probability densities

Seminar of the Centre of Excellence EcolChange

Carlos P. Carmona is researcher at the macroecology workgroup of the Department of Botany, University of Tartu.

Trait probability densities: probabilistic hypervolumes in ecology and beyond

Time: Thursday, 9nd. March 2017 at 15.15

Place: Tartu, Lai 40-218 (Vaga auditorium)


Somehow all the niche memes out there are of Eltonian nature…


Hutchinson’s idea of niches as multidimensional hypervolumes has long inspired ecologists. However, practical use of hypervolumes has not been feasible until recent times, when advances in computational resources and data availability are allowing to estimate them. In particular, functional-trait based ecologists have been attempting to incorporate this appealing concept for more than a decade. In this seminar, I will present an overview of existing hypervolume-based methods to estimate the functional niche of species, along with their respective strengths and weaknesses. I will then show how the adoption of a probabilistic-based idea of the niche can serve to build a unified framework that allows estimating any aspect of functional diversity at all scales while also considering the role of intraspecific variability. Finally, I will provide some examples of practical uses of this framework in a purely ecological context as well as in other fields.

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