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MIA Talks

Primer: Introduction to ecological models for microbiomes

December 2, 2020
Physics of Living Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mehta Group, Boston University
Dept. of Physics, Boston University

This tutorial will provide a brief introduction to key concepts and mathematical models in community ecology, with an eye towards understanding microbiomes. We will introduce Consumer Resource Models (CRMs) and generalized Lotka-Volterra equations, emphasizing overarching ecological concepts, graphical methods, and connections to optimization. The last part of the tutorial will focus on shortcomings of these classical models for understanding microbial systems, and in particular discuss how metabolism naturally couples species and their environments through ubiquitous cross-feeding necessitating modifications of classical ecological models.