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Predicting the fate of a community from initial conditions and the structure of the metacommunity

artwork by Camille Guilbaud

artwork by Camille Guilbaud


Camille Guilbaud, Britta Tietjen, Jana Petermann


We are exploring the community of protists in bromeliads with the goal of providing a mechanistic framework (i.e.: a model) to explain the dynamic of these microbial communities in relation to environmental variables. In particular, we want to know if it is possible to predict the long-term success or failure of these small ecosystems as a function of 1) the size and nutrient content of the bromeliad; 2) the presence of mosquito larvae, top-predator in these communities. A model that manages to explain the interactions between a migrating predator –the mosquito- and the different communities it feasts upon, would open the possibility of model-based environmental policies.


Funded through a competitive grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation.