Richard Hall, Assistant Research Scientist in the Odum School of Ecology, has received a 2010 Short Term Visiting Scholar Award from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). The award will fund a two-week stay at NIMBioS in Knoxville, TN, where Hall will collaborate with an interdisciplinary group of researchers on modeling the effects of habitat fragmentation and biotic resistance on invasive species. The researchers include empiricists and theoreticians, who will be traveling from Oregon, Florida, and Japan to join Hall in Knoxville in July.
The group will focus on pampas grass (Cortaderia), which is invasive on the west coast of the U.S. and is considered particularly threatening to the maritime chaparral community. The creation of gaps and edges in this habitat, caused by fires and construction activity, changes the composition of the community and provides Cortaderia the opportunity to invade. Using empirical data, the researchers will build a spatial simulation model to examine landscape structures to attempt to determine which structures facilitate and which offer more resistance to invasion.
NIMBioS was formed in 2008 as a collaboration between the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Its mission is to foster new collaborative efforts to address biological questions using mathematical and computational methods.