A data-driven framework to model the organism–environment system

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


Organisms modify their development and function in response to the environment. At the same time, the environment is modified by the activities of the organism. Despite the ubiquity of such dynamical interactions in nature, it remains challenging to develop models that accurately represent them, and that can be fitted using data. These features are desirable when modeling phenomena such as phenotypic plasticity, to generate quantitative predictions of how the system will respond to environmental signals of different magnitude or at different times, for example, during ontogeny. Here, we explain a modeling framework that represents the organism and environment as a single coupled dynamical system in terms of inputs and outputs. Inputs are external signals, and outputs are measurements of the system in time. The framework uses time-series data of inputs and outputs to fit a nonlinear black-box model that allows to predict how the system will respond to novel input signals. The framework has three key properties: it captures the dynamical nature of the organism–environment system, it can be fitted with data, and it can be applied without detailed knowledge of the system. We study phenotypic plasticity using in silico experiments and demonstrate that the framework predicts the response to novel environmental signals. The framework allows us to model plasticity as a dynamical property that changes in time during ontogeny, reflecting the well-known fact that organisms are more or less plastic at different developmental stages.

Sidor (från-till)439-450
TidskriftEvolution and Development
Tidigt onlinedatum2023
StatusPublished - 2023

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Evolutionsbiologi


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