Members: Richard Gomulkiewicz, Michael Hochberg, Bob Holt, and John Thompson (organizer). Scott Nuismer, one of my graduate students with a good modelling background from working with Eric Charnov, will also be working with us and already has some preliminary models up and running.
I came out of the working group meeting convinced that it is going to work. By the end of this past weekend, we had accomplished the following:
1. Put boundaries on the major questions we need to address in modelling the geographic mosaic of coevolution and its effects on the organization of biodiversity. Some of our efforts also tie in which Bob's species borders group.
2.Decided on the questions we want to address first - especially the role of coevolutionary hotspots in shaping interspecific interactions across geographic landscapes.
3. Solved the major definitional problems, so that we were all talking the same language.
4. Decided upon a group of four complementary modelling approaches that incorporate a combination of genetics and demography to different degrees. Each person in the group is responsible for spearheading one of the approaches. I am responsible for coordinating the overall effort and for synthesis. The modelling approaches are all very different. So, the overall effort should create a robust analysis (and, I am increasingly convinced, is the kind of coordinated and complementary but diverse effort that is really only possible at a place like NCEAS).
5. Completed a preliminary version of one of the models, coded it into the computer, and, on Monday, began running small simulations. Larger simulations and analytical solutions to follow, with the goal of providing testable predictions.
6. Decided how to work as a group from here on. (You will be interested to know that we decided to work on the first three papers in a way that will involve all four of us working together on each of the papers and all being authors on the mss.)
7. I sent a summary of our deliberations to all members of the working group today to make sure that we are all still agree on what we agreed upon.
We will now work together and individually over our password-protected NCEAS internet site for the next few months. We would then like to get together again at approximately the following dates:
- Possibly early July, 1998 (Bob, Richard, and John - and my student Scott if that is OK with you. Michael can't make that meeting. Bob plans to also work with Tim while he is here.) We will compare the the preliminary versions of all the models and run simulations while here. (Approximate cost: 3 visitors for about a week, plus me, but I'm already paid for.)
- October or November, 1998: Everyone can make it for one week, but I am trying to organize something for a couple of weeks. If longer than a week, it may be in various combinations of 3-4 of us, because the realities of teaching prevent two-week blocks for most. During this meeting, we will do a more complete comparison of the various approaches we have been taking. (Approximate cost: 4 visitors each here for about week, with me here as much as possible over two weeks, although I'll have to fly back to Pullman part way through to give some lectures.)
- February or March, 1999: Probably for a week. We hope to complete the first papers during that meeting and will decide where we need to go next. (Approximate cost: 4 or 5 (if Scott is included) over one week).