Sergei Petrovskii

Professor My photoin Applied Mathematics

Department of Mathematics
University of Leicester
University Road
Leicester, LE1 7RH

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3916

Fax: +44 (0)116 252 3915


Personal details

I am a mathematician with 30 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 have published four books and more than 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 have been a co-organiser and/or invited speaker at around 20 international conferences.



Lewis, M.A., Petrovskii, S.V., and Potts, J. (2016) The Mathematics Behind Biological Invasions. Springer, Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics 44, 362p.

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, 385p.  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

Tilles, P.F.C., Petrovskii, S.V., and Natti, P.L. (2017) A random acceleration model of individual animal movement allowing for diffusive, superdiffusive and superballistic regimes. Scientific Reports 7, 14364.

Petrovskii S.V., Sekerci Y., Venturino, E. (2017) Regime shifts and ecological catastrophes in a model of plankton-oxygen dynamics under the climate change. J. Theor. Biol. 424, 91–109.

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.

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.

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:

Also see here a full publication list structured according to the subjects

For a broader view of the mathematical ecology research in Leicester:

For an overview of the research across the Department of Mathematics as a whole,


  • 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 and 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

Media coverage

  • My recent research on the effect of global warming on atmospheric oxygen was favourably covered by the media, e.g. see the article in The Mirror and listen to the radio interview online.
  • For a press release on my recent results on individual animal movement click here.

Available PhD projects

A few PhD projects along the lines of my research are available. Funding is confirmed but availability of the project is subject to competition. For the description of the projects, please click here.

Conferences, workshops, working groups

Models in Population Dynamics, Ecology, and Evolution - MPDEE-18 (Leicester, April 9-13, 2018)  

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)

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

Tel.: +44 (0)116 229 7407

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