Abstract for John Harte Title: Abstract: Ecology

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Abstract for John Harte
Title: Maximum Entropy and the Inference of Pattern, Process, and Dynamics in
Ecology
Abstract: Constrained maximization of information entropy predicts remarkably
accurately the forms of the major metrics that ecologists use to describe observed
patterns in the distribution, abundance, and energetics of individuals and species
within relatively static ecosystems. Systems undergoing rapid change, however,
whether as a result of natural processes or anthropogenic disturbance, exhibit
systematic deviations from MaxEnt predictions, highlighting the need for a
dynamic extension of the theory. A further limitation of the existing theory is that
it focuses on individuals and species as the units of analysis, ignoring higher order
taxonomic categories. This talk will briefly summarize past work and then focus
on progress in the effort to extend the theory to include the entire taxonomic tree
and to describe systems far from steady state.