2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

A Case for the Maternal Effect
Joe C. Schaeperkoetter
Dr. Peter Rolnick (Retired), Faculty Mentor

I explore if, and if so, which fundamental laws may be applied to population growth. In particular, I examine the validity of the maternal effect. The maternal effect qualitatively states that given equal environmental conditions a healthy mother will produce more grandchildren, by way of healthier offspring, than an unhealthy mother. Whether this is true on a micro-organism level is the object of our research. I have used NetLogo (an agent based programming environment) to simulate the growth of populations of paramecium and didinium. Comparison plots of populations with and without the maternal effect will be discussed. In particular, plots of paramecium growth with the maternal effect in play and without the presence of didinium give interesting results. The appearance of a time lag between the point of exceeding the equilibrium population and the point of a responsive decrease in population size suggests a second order model is appropriate.

Keywords: maternal, effect, population, growth, biology, paramecium, didinium, physics

Topic(s):Biology
Physics
Mathematics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 58-3
Location: MG 2001
Time: 3:15

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