The Ecological Society of America has announced that the winner of the 2015 best paper in Theoretical Ecology is American Naturalist: How individual movement response to habitat edges affects population persistence and spatial spread authored by Gabriel Maciel, PhD Student, and Frithjof Lutscher, Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
From the citation: “This paper addresses a basic question motivated by ecological dynamics -- how behavior at habitat edges affects population persistence and spatial spread -- and comprehensively presents and analyzes a set of broadly applicable tools for incorporating edge behavior. In doing so, Maciel & Lutscher nicely balance tractable models with biological realism and clearly describe how their modeling insights fit into the existing theoretical and empirical context. In addition to advancing the long-standing theory of spatial population dynamics, the findings clearly contribute to the biological understanding of the effect of a variety of movement behaviors, such as faster movement through unfavorable habitat enhancing population persistence and an intermediate strength of patch-quality-based preference enhancing the rate of population spread, with a strong mechanistic understanding for why these dynamics arise. “