Biology Faculty: Thomas Caraco

Thomas Caraco

Associate Professor
Ph.D., Syracuse University

Office BI253
Telephone (518) 442-4343
Fax (518) 442-4767

Areas of Interest

  • Spatially Detailed Population Dynamics
  • Invasive Fronts' Universal Scaling Relationships
  • Ecological Models for Bacteriophage Growth


Predicting how highly variable, but quantifiable, interactions at the level of individuals drive dynamics at the scale of populations/communities presents a fundamental challenge to population biology. We apply a statistical-physics framework to model initial growth and subsequent spatial propagation of ecologically invasive species. Recent results, developed in collaboration with Dr. G. Korniss, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, address (1) the critical radius for expected growth of invader clusters in a competitive environment, (2) scaling laws linking stochastic roughening of an invasive front to the most advanced location of the invading species, and (3) how an understanding of spatially detailed, invasive growth can be applied to limit the economic cost of ecological restoration.
We also contribute models of bacteriophage population dyanmics to a study of the evolutionary ecology of viral host choice.