Meeting Summary: An ink drop placed in water will dissolve and homogenize, never to return back to its original state. Many-body processes involving stochastic forces universally and irreversibly lead to entropy maximizing distributions. This working group aims to ask what the analog of ‘dissolving ink’ is in the context of ecological evolution. Specifically, this WG will explore irreversible changes in the ecological interaction structure and their consequences. Of particular interest are theoretical frameworks that incorporate dynamics as well as experimental approaches that can track irreversible transitions in strongly interacting populations. Key foci for this WG are the directionality of the coevolution of interspecific interactions and ecological transitions, and the synthetic control of such transitions.
Support for this meeting has been generously provided by the James S. McDonnell Foundation, as part of the SFI Complex Time - Adaptation, Aging, Arrow of Time research theme.