Universal geometric cluster algebras from surfaces
A universal geometric cluster algebra over an exchange matrix B is a universal object in the category of geometric cluster algebras over B related by coefficient specializations. (Following an earlier paper on universal geometric cluster algebras, we broaden the definition of geometric cluster algebras relative to the definition originally given Fomin and Zelevinsky.) The universal objects are closely related to a fan F_B called the mutation fan for B. In this paper, we consider universal geometric cluster algebras and mutation fans for cluster algebras arising from marked surfaces. We identify two crucial properties of marked surfaces: The Curve Separation Property and the Null Tangle Property. The latter property implies the former. We prove the Curve Separation Property for all marked surfaces except once-punctured surfaces without boundary components, and as a result we obtain a construction of the rational part of F_B for these surfaces. We prove the Null Tangle Property for a smaller family of surfaces, and use it to construct universal geometric coefficients for these surfaces.