Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Interdisciplinary Informatics are sponsored jointly by the Directorates for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) and Biological Sciences (BIO) to encourage research and training that cross the traditional disciplinary boundaries between them. These fellowships provide opportunities for interdisciplinary research and educational activities in biology and informatics to a wide range of recent doctoral recipients (biologists, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists, and others). It is expected that the Fellows trained through these fellowships will play an important role in training the future workforce. Postdoctoral research and training in informatics will permit junior scientists trained in biology, mathematical, chemical, and physical sciences to play key roles in developing new quantitative tools and methods that will advance informatics in biology and other fields.
The research and training plan is entitled "Combining 20th century data and 21st century statistical tools to explain the long-term coexistence of plant species." While theory states that the dominant competitor should drive all other species extinct, natural plant communities contain many species. This research constructs mathematical models of community dynamics by combining long-term, spatially explicit data collected in the last century with novel statistical techniques to identify strategies that allow species to coexist.