Feb 7, 2023 Online

Jacopo Grilli on macroecological laws governing microbiomes

NCCR External Seminar

Our next guest in the NCCR Seminar Series will be Jacopo Grilli, Associate Research Officer at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy.

Dr. Grilli explores how diversity is generated, organized, and maintained in microbial communities. His group reveals quantitative patterns hidden in complex empirical data, building on this information to develop theoretical models of community structure and dynamics. Working from a macroecological standpoint, Jacopo Grilli aims at identifying laws shaping the biological communities across systems.

Dr. Grilli will give an NCCR talk entitled ‘What is typical in microbial communities?‘, on 7 February 2023, from 12h00 to 13h00 CET. You can access this public seminar through this Zoom link.


Microbial communities are highly dimensional, with many species and many variable environmental factors. Macroecology, which studies communities as statistical ensembles, is a promising way to connect these complex data to mechanistic models. In this talk, I will discuss a minimal set of macroecological patterns that characterize the statistical properties of species abundance fluctuations across communities and over time. A mathematical model based on environmental stochasticity — the Stochastic Logistic model (SLM) — quantitatively predicts these three macroecological laws, as well as non-stationary properties of community dynamics. I will then use the SLM as a lens to unveil non-trivial statistical properties of microbiomes dynamics, with particular emphasis on stability and reproducibility. In particular, I will show that the variability of community composition is characterized by (at least) two timescales. The understanding of these two timescales allows to characterize, and quantitatively reproduce, the variability of composition across hosts