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GSI Seminar - Dr. Esteban Acevedo-Trejos

Modelling the co-evolution of life, climate and landforms

Event details

The interplay of tectonics and climate is known to impact the evolution of life and the patterns of biodiversity we observe on Earth’s surface. Numerical models are ideal tools for understanding how these three components of the Earth system interact in geological time scales. However, current models either specialize in the ecological and evolutionary components or in the landscape-forming processes. In my contribution, I will present, AdaScape, a tool that we recently developed to explore the links between biodiversity and environmental variation through space and time. Our coupled model consists of a simple speciation component, which is based on the adaptive dynamics of traits and can potentially mediate ecological competition for resources and includes dispersal and mutation processes. The speciation component is coupled to a landscape evolution model that predicts two-dimensional changes in topographic relief based on the stream power law for river incision and hillslope diffusion and considers the effects of orographic precipitation on both erosion rate and the biota. I will also illustrate the behaviour of the coupled model using examples of dynamic and static environments to demonstrate how tectonics, climate and life components have the potential to co-evolve to produce distinct patterns of biodiversity in representative landforms.


Esteban Acevedo-Trejos obtained his bachelor's in marine biology at the National University of Costa Rica in 2007. Then he moved to Germany for his master's studies in tropical aquatic ecology at the University of Bremen that he completed in 2011. Later in 2014, he obtained a doctoral degree from Jacobs University Bremen for his work on macroecological properties of marine phytoplankton. He then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Tropical Marine Research for 6 years, where he delved into topics related to phytoplankton trait-based ecology, marine megafauna, coral reef ecology, human resource interactions and environmental pollution. Since 2022 he holds a postdoctoral position at the German Research Centre for Geosciences, where he is trying to unravel the links between tectonics, climate and biodiversity as part of the German Research Foundation (DFG) Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) "Earth evolution at the dry limit”.


Laver Building LT3