National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis postdoctoral fellow Jiang Jiang and University of Miami ecologist Don DeAngelis have won the 2014 best paper award from the Ecological Society of America for their theoretical paper on the ecological linkages between organisms and their environment.
In a mathematical model, Jiang and DeAngelis illustrate what happens when "ecological engineers" or species modify the environment to their own benefit and how this affects the diversity of the competitive community that they inhabit.
"These novel results are likely to foster further theoretical research and generate some fine hypotheses that will motivate experimental and field studies," said Bruce Kendall, chair of the ESA's Theoretical Ecology Section which made the award. "Strong species-environment feedback shapes plant community assembly along environmental gradients" was published online in October 2013 in the open access journal Ecology and Evolution.
Jiang and DeAngelis will receive their award at ESA's annual meeting in August.
Early this year, the paper was selected as a "Recommended" paper by Faculty of 1000, an online service that ranks academic articles across an array of disciplines. Articles are selected by the international F1000 Faculty Members, a group of 5,000 senior scientists and leading experts in all areas of biology and medicine who identify top articles.
Jiang has won several awards for his research, including first prize in the 2012 MCED (Modelling Complex Ecological Dynamics) Award for Innovative Contributions to Ecological Modeling and a 2013 F1000Prime Travel Grant.
DeAngelis has been a frequent visitor to NIMBioS as both a member of the NIMBioS Working Group on Ecology of Niche Variation and also the NIMBioS Investigative Workshop on Predictive Models for ERA.
Explore further: Scientist helps create the first computer model of all life on Earth
More information: Jiang J, DeAngelis DL. 2013. Strong species-environment feedback shapes plant community assembly along environmental gradients. Ecology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.784