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Petri Nets for Modelling and Analysing Trophic Networks

  • Dalhousie University, Goldberg Computer Science Building, Slonim Conference Room (#430) 6050 University Avenue Halifax Canada (map)

Speaker: Marta Simeoni

We consider trophic networks, a kind of networks used in ecology to represent feeding interactions (what-eats-what) in an ecosystem. Starting from the observation that trophic networks can be naturally modelled as Petri nets, we explore the possibility of using Petri nets for the analysis and simulation of trophic networks. We define and discuss different continuous Petri net models, whose level of accuracy depends on the information available for the modelled trophic network. The simplest Petri net model we construct just relies on the topology of the network.

We also propose a technique for deriving a more refined model that embeds into the Petri net the known constraints on the transition rates that represent the knowledge on metabolism and diet of the species in the network. Finally, if the information of the biomass amounts for each
species at steady state is available, we discuss a way of further refining the Petri net model in order to represent dynamic behaviour. We apply our Petri net technology to a case study of the Venice lagoon and analyse the results.

Brief Bio:
Laurea/MSc. (summa cum laude) in Computer Science, University of Udine (Italy), 1995. PhD in Computer Science, University of Rome "La Sapienza" (Italy), 2000. Since 2000, Assistant Professor at the University Ca' Foscari of Venice. Her present research interests are in Bioinformatics and Ecoinformatics, in the field of Biological and Ecological Systems Modeling and Analysis.