Yuval R. Zelnik

Centre for Biodiversity Theory and Modelling
Station d’Ecologie Théorique et Expérimentale du CNRS
09200 Moulis, France

Phone: +33 (0) 5 61 04 03 60
Email: yuval.zelnik@sete.cnrs.fr

Research interest

I am interested in various phenomena in complex systems, in particular modeling of ecosystems, their dynamics far from equilibrium, and the effect of spatial structure on the system’s behavior.

As part of the BIOSTASES team, I am currently focusing on the relations between biodiversity, ecosystem stability and its spatial structure. Biodiversity is commonly assumed to make ecosystems more robust and resilient to disturbances, but this relation need not hold in all spatial scales, and furthermore, its origins are not always clear. I am interested in using different simple scenarios of spatial structure, such as fragmented landscape, asymmetric dispersal, and random networks to understand how the stability around equilibrium is maintained in such cases. I am also interested in the investigating how measures of stability close to equilibrium such as resilience might hold when non-linear effects become significant when far from equilibrium. The effect of more complex trophic structure on such properties would also be of great significance to understanding ecosystems in nature and relating theoretical finds to them.

Other topics which I have worked on, that I find interesting and important, are:

- Pattern formation in ecology

- Modeling of dryland ecosystems

- Regime shifts in spatial systems

- Dynamics of predator-prey systems

- Invasion and epidemiological dynamics

- Pattern recognition of corals

- Networks and effects of topology

- Effects of discreteness and spatial heterogeneity


Summary CV

- 2016 - 2018 Postdoctoral fellow with Michel Loreau, CNRS Moulis, France.

- 2016 Postdoctoral fellow with Ehud Meron, Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University, Israel.

- 2011 - 2015 Ph.D. with Ehud Meron and Golan Bel. "Regime shifts in spatially extended ecosystems". Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University, Israel.

- 2009 - 2011 M.Sc. with Sorin Solomon. "The effects of discreteness and spatial heterogeneity on predator-prey systems". Physics department, Hebrew University, Israel.

- 2009 Researcher in Grant T. Gullberg's lab for Imaging Technology, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, California, USA.

- 2005 - 2008 B.Sc. in Physics (cum laude) at Ben-Gurion University, Israel.



  • Getzin S., Yizhaq H., Bell B., Erickson T. E., Postle A. C., Katra I., Tzuk O., Zelnik Y.R., Wiegand K., Wiegand T., Meron E. (2016) Discovery of fairy circles in Australia supports self-organization theory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113.13:3551-3556. Download
  • Zelnik Y.R., Meron E., Bel G. (2016) Localized states qualitatively change the response of ecosystems to varying conditions and local disturbances. Ecological Complexity, 25:26-34. Download
  • Greenbaum G., Hoffman O., Shalev O., Zelnik Y.R. (2015) Complex networks in ecology. Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution 61:2. Download
  • Zelnik Y.R., Meron E., Bel G. (2015) Gradual Regime Shifts in Fairy Circles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112.40:12327-12331. Download
  • Zelnik Y.R., Solomon S., Yaari G. (2015) Species survival emerge from rare events of individual migration. Scientific Reports, 5:7877. Download
  • Kinast S., Zelnik Y.R., Bel G., Meron E. (2014) Interplay between Turing mechanisms can increase pattern diversity. Physical Review Letters, 112.7:078701. Download
  • Zelnik Y.R., Kinast S., Yizhaq H., Bel G., Meron E. (2013) Regime shifts in models of dryland vegetation. Philosophical Transactions A, 371.2004:20120358. Download
  • Winant C.D., Aparici C.M., Zelnik Y.R., Reutter B.W., Sitek A., Bacharach S.L., Gullberg G.T. (2012) Investigation of dynamic SPECT measurements of the arterial input function in human subjects using simulation, phantom and human studies. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 57.2:375-393. Download

Awards and distinctions

- 2016: Rector prize for Ph.D. studies.

- 2014: Marshall Tulin Fellowship (Rieger Foundation).

- 2014: International Education Grant of the Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Space.

- 2011 - 2015: Negev-Zin Scholarship for Ph.D. students.

- 2007 - 2009: Physics department achievement award (all 3 years).

- 2005: Suzan Zolotovsky prize for new students with high achievements.