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Virtual Darwin Day Lecture: Spatial Structure as a Mechanism for Diversity: coexistence, coinfection, and pathogen invasion

with Senay Yitbarek, Ph.D., USDA NIFA Fellow and Carolina Postdoctoral Fellow, UNC Department of Biology

moderated by Johnny Randall, NCBG Director of Conservation

The registration period has closed for this event.

Friday, February 12, 2021

12:00 PM-1:00 PM

Venue: Zoom webinar

Free; preregistration required


Spatial ecological patterns are ubiquitous in nature and have been observed across a range of systems from tropical systems to infectious diseases. Understanding the consequences of spatial ecological patterns has the potential to provide unique insights into emergent behaviors and ecosystem functioning. In the first part of my talk, I will discuss the role of spatial patterns in agroecosystems and their consequences for species coexistence. I will highlight emergent spatial ecological patterns and potential mechanisms they provide for species diversity. Next, I apply a spatial framework to more recent work on host-microbe interactions across different environments. Using an experimental-theoretical approach, I show how competitive differences among microbes emerge across well-mixed and spatial environments. Lastly, I will introduce a quantitative framework to measure higher-order interactions in microbial communities. This approach has the potential to deconstruct microbiota/host-complexity and guide future experimental studies involving tractable gut microbiota of insects.


This program will be offered via Zoom Webinar. Links for accessing the program will be emailed to participants in the days leading up to the lecture.



The registration period has closed for this event.
Registration open until 2/12/2021 11:50 AM.

About the Speaker

Senay Yitbarek received his Ph.D. in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is a USDA NIFA Fellow and Carolina Postdoctoral Fellow through the Program for Faculty Diversity in the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His work focuses on the community ecology of infectious diseases. One particular focus of his research is understanding how microbial interactions are shaped by host population structure. Senay combines experimental evolution approaches with mathematical modeling. Before joining UNC-Chapel Hill, Senay was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the current President of the Black Ecologists organization in the Ecological Society of America.

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Dr. Senay Yitbarek



This program will be offered via Zoom webinar.