Sergei Petrovskii

Professor My photoin Applied Mathematics

I am a mathematician with thirty years of experience in modelling of natural phenomena. For the last 25 years my research has been focused on nonlinear dynamics, dynamical systems' application to ecology and ecological complexity. I published three books and 100+ papers in peer-reviewed journals. I have co-managed several research projects supported by various national and international foundations. I am the Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Complexity. I was a (co)organizer and/or invited speaker at about twenty international conferences.

Research interests

diffusion-reaction models of population dynamics:
mechanisms of spatiotemporal self-organization in a system of interacting species, pattern formation and chaos, effects of stochastisity and noise, diffusion-reaction systems on a lattice
nonlinear waves and biological invasion:
travelling population waves, biological/physical factors affecting the wave speed, patterns of species dispersal different from travelling fronts, interplay between different mechanisms of species spread, exactly solvable diffusion-reaction models
ecological complexity:
nonlinear phenomena in population dynamics, bifurcations and chaos, factors enhancing/hampering chaotic dynamics in ecological communities
individual movement and random walk:
models of individual animal movement
ecology & environment:
coupling between biological and environmental processes, interplay between processes acting on different spatial and temporal scales, mathematical modelling of self-organized plankton patterns in turbulent environment


My recent research on the effect of global warming on atmospheric oxygen was favourably covered by the media; see the article in Mirror and the radio interview


Essential News => new book:

Lewis, M.A., Petrovskii, S.V., and Potts, J. (2016) The Mathematics Behind Biological Invasions. Springer, Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics 44.


Conferences, workshops, working groups

META Research Group & Workshop (Leicester, March 7, 2016)

Dynamical Systems Applied to Biology and Natural Sciences 2016 (Evora, Portugal, February 2-5, 2016)

Models in Populaiton Dynamics and Ecology 2016 (Marseilles, France, September 5-9, 2016)

Models in Population Dynamics and Ecology 2015:  Bringing Together Ecology, Epidemiology and Evolution (Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, August 24-28, 2015)

MBI Workshop: Uncertainty, Sensitivity and Predictability in Ecology - Mathematical Challenges and Ecological Applications (Columbus, USA, October 26-30, 2015)

NIMBioS Working Group: Dispersal Biogeography (Knoxville, USA, May 11-14, 2015)


Selected publications


Lewis, M.A., Maini, P.K., Petrovskii, S.V., Eds. (2013) Dispersal, Individual Movement and Spatial Ecology: A Mathematical Perspective. Springer, Lecture Notes in Mathematics Vol. 2071.  See the Preface and the Table of Contents.

Malchow, H., Petrovskii, S.V., Venturino, E. (2008) Spatiotemporal Patterns in Ecology and Epidemiology: Theory, Models, Simulations. Chapman & Hall / CRC Press, 443p. Full text can be downloaded here: pages i-196, pages 197-443.

Petrovskii, S.V., Li, B.-L. (2006) Exactly Solvable Models of Biological Invasion. Chapman & Hall / CRC Press, 217p.  Full text can be downloaded here: pages 1-217.


Some recent papers

Sekerci, Y., and Petrovskii, S.V. (2015) Mathematical modelling of plankton-oxygen dynamics under the climate change. Bull. Math. Biol. 77, 2325-2353.

Rodrigues, L.A.D., Mistro, D.C., Cara, E.R., Petrovskaya, N., and Petrovskii, S.V.(2015) Patchy invasion of stage-structured alien species with short-distance and long-distance dispersal. Bull. Math. Biol. 77, 1583-1619.

Bearup, D., and Petrovskii, S.V. (2015) On time scale invariance of random walks in bounded space. J. Theor. Biol. 367, 230-245.

Tilles, P.F.C, and Petrovskii, S.V. (2015) Statistical mechanics of animal movement: Animals's decision-making can result in superdiffusive spread. Ecological Complexity 22, 86-92.

Petrovskii, S.V., Petrovskaya, N.B., and Bearup, D. (2014) Multiscale approach to pest insect monitoring: Random walks, pattern formation, synchronization, and networks. Physics of Life Reviews 11, 467-525.

Bearup, D., Petrovskii, S.V., Blackshaw, R., and Hastings, A. (2013) The impact of terrain and weather conditions on the metapopulation of Tipula paludosa in South-Western Scotland: linking pattern to process. American Naturalist 182, 393-409.

Petrovskii, S.V., and Petrovskaya, N.B. (2012) Computational ecology as an emerging science. Interface Focus 2, 241-254.

Jansen, V.A.A., Mashanova, A., Petrovskii, S.V. (2012) Why mussels do not do a Levy walk: Comments on "Levy walks evolve through interaction between movement and environmental complexity." Science 335, 918.

Petrovskii, S.V., Mashanova, A., and Jansen, V.A.A. (2011) Variation in individual walking behavior creates the impression of a Levy flight. PNAS 108, 8704-8707.


For an extended list of publications, please use the link here (or just use the "More Publications" button in the top left corner of the page).


For a citation report, see my Google Scholar profile.


For a broader view of the mathematical ecology research in Leicester please visit the Mathematical Ecology Group page. See also our Mathematical Ecology Seminar web page: Midlands MESS.


For an overview of the citation data across the Department of Mathematics as a whole, click here.


Contact details

Department of Mathematics, University of Leicester

University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, United Kingdom

Phone: +44 116 252 3916

Fax: +44 116 252 3915


Last updated: March 13, 2016

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Contact details

Department of Mathematics
University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

Tel.: +44 (0)116 252 3917
Fax: +44 (0)116 252 3915

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