School of Mathematics

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Dr Sandro Azaele

Applied Mathematics

Contact details

Room: 8.14
Tel: +44 (0)113 3438622
Email: S.Azaele @


Statistical Mechanics
Stochastic Processes
Complex Systems
Theoretical Ecology
Neutral Theory of Biodiversity
Mathematical Biology
Nonlinear Dynamics

Research interests

My research focuses on the mathematical modelling of biological systems, whether they be ecological communities or populations of isogenic cells. I have a deep interest in providing a quantitative explanation of general properties and patterns emerging from very different conditions and seemingly unrelated systems.

Living systems are far from equilibrium: they diffuse across the real space, looking for resources to survive, and diffuse across the genomic space as well, looking for new solutions to ever-changing problems entailed by the struggle for life. This twofold and coupled diffusion process spawns an extraordinary variety of collective behaviors, brings about irreversible phenomena, develops self-organization and generates universal patterns. Distilling such a biological complexity to the primary driving mechanisms represents a formidable challenge and orients my research. I study such problems with a combination of tools borrowed from non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, stochastic processes and non-linear dynamics.

Useful links

Personal webpage
Available PhD projects
MATH3365 - Mathematical Methods
MATH5366 - Advanced Mathematical Methods

Current postgraduate students

Joana Lisboa Brandao de Melo (2015)
Fabio Peruzzo (2015)


Danino M, Shnerb NM, Azaele S, Kunin WE, Kessler DA The effect of environmental stochasticity on species richness in neutral communities Journal of Theoretical Biology, 409, 155-164, 2016
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Azaele S, Suweis S, Grilli J, Volkov I, Banavar JR, Maritan A Statistical mechanics of ecological systems: Neutral theory and beyond Reviews of Modern Physics, 88, 2016
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Azaele S, Maritan A, Cornell SJ, Suweis S, Banavar JR, Gabriel D, Kunin WE Towards a unified descriptive theory for spatial ecology: predicting biodiversity patterns across spatial scales Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 6, 324-332, 2015
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Xi N, Muneepeerakul R, Azaele S, Wang Y Maximum entropy model for business cycle synchronization Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 413, 189-194, 2014
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Barwell LJ, Azaele S, Kunin WE, Isaac NJB Can coarse-grain patterns in insect atlas data predict local occupancy? Diversity and Distributions: a journal of conservation biogeography, 2014
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Grilli J, Azaele S, Banavar JR, Maritan A Spatial aggregation and the species-area relationship across scales Journal of Theoretical Biology, 313, 87-97, 2012
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Grilli J, Azaele S, Banavar JR, Maritan A Absence of detailed balance in ecology EPL - Europhysics Letters, 100, 2012
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Borile C, Muñoz MA, Azaele S, Banavar JR, Maritan A Spontaneously broken neutral symmetry in an ecological system Physical Review Letters, 109, 2012
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Azaele S, Cornell SJ, Kunin WE Downscaling species occupancy from coarse spatial scales Ecological Applications, 22, 1004-1014, 2012
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Di Patti F, Azaele S, Banavar JR, Maritan A System size expansion for systems with an absorbing state Physical Review E: Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, 83, 2011
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Muneepeerakul R, Azaele S, Levin SA, Rinaldo A, Rodriguez-Iturbe I Evolution of dispersal in explicitly spatial metacommunities. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 269, 256-265, 2011
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Muneepeerakul R, Azaele S, Botter G, Rinaldo A, Rodriguez-Iturbe I Daily streamflow analysis based on a two-scaled gamma pulse model Water Resources Research, 46, 2010
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Konar M, Muneepeerakul R, Azaele S, Bertuzzo E, Rinaldo A, Rodriguez-Iturbe I Potential impacts of precipitation change on large-scale patterns of tree diversity Water Resources Research, 46, 2010
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Todd MJ, Muneepeerakul R, Pumo D, Azaele S, Miralles-Wilhelm F, Rinaldo A, Rodriguez-Iturbe I Hydrological drivers of wetland vegetation community distribution within Everglades National Park, Florida Advances in Water Resources, 33, 1279-1289, 2010
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Azaele S, Maritan A, Bertuzzo E, Rodriguez-Iturbe I, Rinaldo A Stochastic dynamics of cholera epidemics Physical Review E: Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, 81, 2010
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Azaele S, Muneepeerakul R, Rinaldo A, Rodriguez-Iturbe I Inferring plant ecosystem organization from species occurrences. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 262, 323-329, 2010
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Azaele S, Banavar JR, Maritan A Probing noise in gene expression and protein production Physical Review E: Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, 80, 2009
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Convertino M, Muneepeerakul R, Azaele S, Bertuzzo E, Rinaldo A, Rodriguez-Iturbe I On neutral metacommunity patterns of river basins at different scales of aggregation Water Resources Research, 45, 2009
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Azaele S, Muneepeerakul R, Maritan A, Rinaldo A, Rodriguez-Iturbe I Predicting spatial similarity of freshwater fish biodiversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, 106, 7058-7062, 2009
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Bertuzzo E, Azaele S, Maritan A, Gatto M, Rodriguez-Iturbe I, Rinaldo A On the space-time evolution of a cholera epidemic Water Resources Research, 44, 2008
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Azaele S, Pigolotti S, Banavar JR, Maritan A Dynamical evolution of ecosystems. Nature, 444, 926-928, 2006
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Azaele S, Volkov I, Banavar JR, Maritan A Linear one-step processes with artificial boundaries Journal of Statistical Physics, 125, 491-511, 2006
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