Vegetation Patterns, Ecosystem Engineers, and Species Richness: A Pattern Formation Approach
- Ehud Meron,Dept. of Solar Energy&Environmental Physics, and Dept. of Physics, Ben Gurion Univ.
- Oct. 7, 2003, 3 p.m.
- Sala de seminarios IMEDEA, Esporles
Habitat and species richness in water limited systems are affected by the
dynamics of a few key species, termed \\\'ecosystem engineers\\\'. Examples
include plants forming vegetation patterns and cyanobacteria forming
soil-crusts. These species modulate the landscape and redistribute the soil
water resources so as to allow the introduction of other species. A model
is developed for the study of these properties under various climatic
conditions, disturbances regimes, and topographies. The model is used to
highlight conditions that give rise to high habitat richness, and suggests
mechanisms for species loss events as a result of environmental changes.