2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

Biologic Inertia in Ecological Population Modeling
Daniel G. Kreis
Dr. Peter Rolnick (Retired), Faculty Mentor

Many modern population models are based on the Lotka-Volterra equations, which can exhibit pathological behavior such as the paradox of enrichment. A recently proposed model appears to avoid these problems. This model asserts the existence of inertia in population levels, describing the "acceleration" of a population rather than its "velocity." This biologic inertia is justified by the maternal effect hypothesis, wherein the overall health of a parent organism affects that of its progeny, causing a species to resist change in its rate of growth or decline. Starting with a single-species model proposed by Ginzburg and Colyvan, we attempt to form a synthesis model describing multi-species interactions. Our equations will be used to model population data taken from an artificial ecology of Didinium and Paramecium. Several other models have already been fit to this data by previous authors, allowing us to directly compare these models to our inertia-based approach.

Keywords: population model, ecology, paradox of enrichment, maternal effect, biologic inertia

Topic(s):Physics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 55-1
Location: VH 1416
Time: 2:45

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