How Ecosystems Work: from the Smallest to the Largest Scales

Science for the Public: Contemporary Science Issues and Innovations
December 14, 2020 Zoom recording by Belmont Media Center, Belmont MA

James O’Dwyer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Plant Biology, University of Illinois (Urbana); O’Dwyer Lab
Hrdy Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study 2020-2021

Dr. O’Dwyer says that “ecological systems are the archetypal complex systems.” He describes how these systems, regardless of scale and despite their diversity, share underlying signatures and patterns. How the components of ecosystems interact and adapt to their environments is a matter of intense study today when so many species are under threat by environmental and climate changes.

James O’Dwyer received his PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Cambridge. Before joining the University of Illinois-Urbana, he was an Omidyar Postdoctoral Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute. He earned a 2015 investigator award from the Simons Foundation’s Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems program and a 2015 21st Century Science Initiative Award from the James S. McDonnell Foundation.