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 Workshop #6: Uncertainty & Predictability in Ecology (Leicester, April 6, 2017)

NIMBioS Working Group: Long Transients and Ecological Forecasting (Knoxville, USA, March 1-3, 2017)

VI Southern Summer School on Mathematical Biology (Sao Paulo, Brazil, January 16-27, 2017)

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


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

Petrovskaya N.B, Petrovskii S.V. (2017) Catching ghosts with a coarse net: use and abuse of spatial sampling data in detecting synchronization. J. R. Soc. Interface 14, 20160855.

Petrovskii, S.V. (2016) Pattern, process, scale, and model's sensitivty: a comment. Phys. Life Rev. 19, 131-134.

Bearup D., Benefer C.M., Petrovskii S.V., Blackshaw R.P. (2016) Revisiting Brownian motion as a description of animal movement: a comparison to experimental movement data. Methods Ecol. Evolut. 7, 1525–1537.

Tilles, P.F.C., Petrovskii, S.V., and Natti, P.L. (2016) A random walk description of individual animal movement accounting for periods of rest. R. Soc. Open Sci. 3, 160566.

Jankovic, M., Petrovskii, S.V., and Banerjee, M. (2016) Delay driven spatiotemporal chaos in single species population dynamics models. Theor. Popul. Biol. 110, 51-62.

Tilles, P.F.C., and Petrovskii, S.V. (2016) How animals move along? Exactly solvable model of superdiffusive spread resulting from animal’s decision making. J. Math. Biol., 73, 227-255.

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.

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 a full publication list, 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 research 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: February 6, 2017

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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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