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The neutral theory of ecology

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The neutral theory of ecology

MIT 8.591J Systems Biology, Fall 2014
View the complete course:
Instructor: Jeff Gore

In this lecture, Prof. Jeff Gore asks why are some species abundant and others rare? Are there universal patterns at play? And what lead to these patterns?

License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
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Ecological Neutral Theory: is it Madness or Misunderstood? (James Rosindell October 2013)

A full video of James Rosindell's seminar presentation on 31st October 2013 at the University of York. This is an introduction to ecological neutral theory and its applications. The presentation also includes new research not yet published elsewhere and a demonstration of the OneZoom tree of life explorer (
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The neutral theory of biodiversity and other competitors to maximum entropy

Annette Ostling (Univ. of Michigan) gave a talk entitled The neutral theory of biodiversity and other competitors to maximum entropy, at the Information and Entropy Investigative Workshop, held at NIMBioS 8-10 April 2015. To read more about the workshop, click the following link:

Rosindell: A Nearly Neutral Theory of Ecology and Macroevolution

Presentation by Rosindell James, with coauthors Rampal Etienne and Luke Harmon
Evolution 2014 conference
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Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution

biodiversity-niche theory

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4. Neutral Evolution: Genetic Drift

Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior (EEB 122)

Neutral evolution occurs when genes do not experience natural selection because they have no effect on reproductive success. Neutrality arises when mutations in an organism's genotype cause no change in its phenotype, or when changes in the genotype bring about changes in the phenotype that do not affect reproductive success. Because neutral genes do not change in any particular direction over time and simply drift, thanks in part to the randomness of meiosis, they can be used as a sort of molecular clock to determine common ancestors or places in the phylogenetic tree of life.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Introduction
04:56 - Chapter 2. Genes and Amino Acid Changes Not Reflected in Phenotypes
14:29 - Chapter 3. Neutral Evolution in the History of Life
20:38 - Chapter 4. Mechanisms of Neutral or Random Evolution
35:28 - Chapter 5. The Molecular Clock of Neutral Evolution

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website:

This course was recorded in Spring 2009.

Being Ecological | Lecture by philosopher Timothy Morton

Being Ecological | Lecture by philosopher Timothy Morton | Friday 23 March 2018 | 19.30 – 21.15 hrs |Collegezalencomplex Radboud University

When we really want to think the ecological thought we should let go off the concept of “Nature”. According to American philosopher Timothy Morton Nature with a capital N is an idealized image that stands in the way of our truly being ecological. Instead we should become aware of the dark side of the way in which we are interconnected with all beings, be they animal, vegetal and mineral. Come and listen to how Morton uses Schopenhauer, Stars Wars, and even toilets to elaborate on what he calls dark ecology.

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Radboud Reflects organizes in-depth lectures about philosophy, religion, ethics, society and culture.

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Neutral Theory of ME - Advanced Bioinformatics (Lecture 52)

Neutral Theory of ME

Advanced Bioinformatics

Advanced Bio Informatics

Neutral Evolution Pt. 04

Randy Linder
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Dr. James H. Brown -- "Toward a Metabolic Theory of Ecology"

James H. Brown
Distinguished Professor of Biology, University of New Mexico talks about Ecology studies interactions between organisms and their biotic and abiotic environments. These interactions are fundamentally metabolic: metabolism is the exchange, transformation, and allocation of energy and materials by an organism. The metabolic rate of an organism varies with body size and temperature according to defined scaling relationships. Metabolic rates of organisms affect flows of energy and materials, rates of processes, and organization of systems at the levels of populations, societies, communities, ecosystems, and the biosphere. Metabolism holds out the promise providing the mechanistic basis for unified theory of ecology.

Ecological Theories: Cultural Ecology, System Ecology and Political Ecology (ANT)

Subject:Anthropology
Paper:Theories and methods in social cultural anthropology
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Neutral Evolution Pt. 05

Randy Linder

Population Ecology Theory

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Will Provine on the Neutral Theory

William B. Provine (Cornell University) talks about the development of the neutral and nearly neutral theories of molecular evolution by Motoo Kimura and Tomoko Ohta. This video was recorded at the Dibner-MBL Seminar on Perspectives on Molecular Evolution in May 2004, and it's available from
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Unified neutral theory of biodiversity | Wikipedia audio article

This is an audio version of the Wikipedia Article:



00:02:02 1 Saturation
00:03:35 1.1 Species abundances
00:19:27 2 Stochastic modelling of species abundances under the UNTB
00:27:23 3 Species-area relationships
00:31:41 3.1 Example
00:35:08 4 Dynamics under neutral hypothesis
00:39:44 5 Testing the theory
00:40:55 6 See also



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There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.
- Socrates



SUMMARY
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The unified neutral theory of biodiversity and biogeography (here Unified Theory or UNTB) is a hypothesis and the title of a monograph by ecologist Stephen Hubbell. The hypothesis aims to explain the diversity and relative abundance of species in ecological communities, although like other neutral theories of ecology, Hubbell's hypothesis assumes that the differences between members of an ecological community of trophically similar species are neutral, or irrelevant to their success. This implies that biodiversity arises at random, as each species follows a random walk. The hypothesis has sparked controversy, and some authors consider it a more complex version of other null models that fit the data better.Neutrality means that at a given trophic level in a food web, species are equivalent in birth rates, death rates, dispersal rates and speciation rates, when measured on a per-capita basis. This can be considered a null hypothesis to niche theory. Hubbell built on earlier neutral concepts, including MacArthur & Wilson's theory of island biogeography and Gould's concepts of symmetry and null models.An ecological community is a group of trophically similar, sympatric species that actually or potentially compete in a local area for the same or similar resources. Under the Unified Theory, complex ecological interactions are permitted among individuals of an ecological community (such as competition and cooperation), provided that all individuals obey the same rules. Asymmetric phenomena such as parasitism and predation are ruled out by the terms of reference; but cooperative strategies such as swarming, and negative interaction such as competing for limited food or light are allowed (so long as all individuals behave in the same way).
The Unified Theory also makes predictions that have profound implications for the management of biodiversity, especially the management of rare species.The theory predicts the existence of a fundamental biodiversity constant, conventionally written θ, that appears to govern species richness on a wide variety of spatial and temporal scales.

Ecosystem stability, critical transitions, and biodiversity

MIT 8.591J Systems Biology, Fall 2014
View the complete course:
Instructor: Jeff Gore

In this lecture, Prof. Jeff Gore discusses the stability, resilience, and diversity of populations at a systems level. He begins by considering a single population, and then moves on to a simple model of interactions between species.

License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
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John Maynard Smith - Kimura and King: Neutral theory of molecular evolution (84/102)

To hear more of John Maynard Smith’s stories, go to the playlist:

The late British biologist John Maynard Smith (1920-2004) is famous for applying game theory to the study of natural selection. In 1973 Maynard Smith formalised a central concept in game theory called the evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS). His ideas, presented in books such as 'Evolution and the Theory of Games', were enormously influential and led to a more rigorous scientific analysis and understanding of interactions between living things. [Listener: Richard Dawkins]

TRANSCRIPT: I had a slightly curious position on that when the serious debates were going on. I mean, when Kimura's paper was published... Kimura and King, it's - one's so bad at dates, 1961, could it be? - anyway, whenever, when it was first published, this led, particularly in Britain, to deep hostility to the notion that anything could be selectively neutral. The whole tradition of British population biology had been if you find a genetic variability, it must have some kind of selective explanation, and if at first you don't find it, you must try, try and try again, until you do. And the suggestion that there were genetic changes out there which were selectively neutral, was really deeply distasteful to these people. And there was really quite an extraordinary level of debate on the issue. Which... and what seemed to me so strange at the time, that people felt they had to take sides. I remember, it was at its height at a period when Dick Lewontin spent a year in my lab here. And I remember we talked about it and we both agreed that at the moment we couldn't see anything really decisive, one way or the other. And we kept on trying to think of decisive statistical measures or experiments one could carry out, to decide whether the neutral theory was true. And we kept on coming up with ideas and then deciding that they wouldn't really settle the issue, because, you know. And so we both agreed the only sensible thing was to do was to say we don't know, it didn't seem to be necessary in science to say you know when you don't. But almost everybody else seemed to take rigorous sides. I think that the... this degree of polarity has disappeared, and I think today most people who've thought about the matter seriously, really see the value of the neutral theory as a kind of null hypothesis. The great beauty of the neutral theory is it says, there is no selection. It is then possible to work out, in great detail, what you expect to happen, and what you expect to happen to distribution of gene frequencies, their rates of change in time, and all sorts of things of that kind. Once you start saying there's selection, anything goes, because you don't know what the selection is, you can't predict anything. And so the neutral theory provides one with a really admirable sort of null hypothesis against a background to which you can... you can pick out the cases where clearly it's not neutral, and you can say, 'That's selective because it doesn't agree with the neutral hypothesis.' So, I've no doubt at all that Kimura's contribution was profound and really has changed population genetics.

4. Neutral Evolution: Genetic Drift

Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Behavior (EEB 122) Neutral evolution occurs when genes do not experience natural selection because they have no effect on reproductive success. Neutrality.

Hank talks about population genetics, which helps to explain the evolution of populations over time by combing the principles of Mendel and Darwin, and by means of the Hardy-Weinberg equation..

003 - Genetic Drift Paul Andersen describes genetic drift as a mechanism for evolutionary change. A population genetics simulator is used to show the importance of large population size in.

Introduction to Restoration Ecology (part 2)

This is the second part of our general introduction to the theory and practice of ecological restoration. Here we focus on conceptual models for what ecological restoration is.

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