Ecological systems biology: The dynamics of interacting populations

Jonathan Friedman*, Jeff Gore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Ecological systems biology integrates theory and experiments in simple laboratory systems to study how interactions between individuals determine the emergent properties of complex biological communities. This approach reveals parallels between ecological dynamics that result from interactions between populations, and evolutionary dynamics which result from analogous interactions within a population. Tractable microbial systems enable systematic testing of theoretical predications, and identification of novel principles. Notable examples include using a cooperatively growing yeast population to detect theoretically predicted early-warning indicators preceding sudden population collapse, validating predicted spatial expansion patterns using two yeast strains which exchange essential metabolites, and the recent realization that coevolution of predators and prey qualitatively alters the oscillations that are observed in a rotifer-algae system.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)114-121
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Systems Biology
StatePublished - Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016.


  • Cooperation
  • Ecology
  • Evolution
  • Interactions
  • Microbial communities
  • Mutualism
  • Predator-prey


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