2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

Ecological Population Modeling: The Maternal Effect
Ben D. Rusk
Dr. Peter Rolnick (Retired), Faculty Mentor

All living organisms inherit genetic make-up from their mothers. The idea of an offspring's population dynamics also being affected by the phenotype of their mothers is called the maternal effect. Such an affect would profoundly influence how we model actual populations in the field. We investigate these maternal effects by studying two types of protozoa- Paramecium aurelia and its predator Didinium nasutum. Cultivating these prey and predator organisms together can create oscillations in both species populations. The maternal effect can then be studied by observing the characteristics of the populations at both extremes of the cycles, growth and decline. These species are found naturally in habitats much larger than the artificial environments needed for laboratory study, making it difficult to achieve repeated cycling. We hope to obtain data that supports or refutes the maternal effect in the protozoa Paramecium a. and Didinium n.

Keywords: maternal, effect, protozoa, population, modeling

Topic(s):Physics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 51-5
Location: MG 1096
Time: 3:45

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