Modeling & Mathematical Ecology
ResearchersHal Caswell, Cabell Davis, Michael Neubert,
WHOI biologists are using modeling, ecological theory,
and state-of-the-art computer systems to examine the
ecological processes that lead to the complex spatial
and temporal patterns of organisms in the marine environment.
The research focuses on population and community dynamics,
life-history theory, and interactions of marine populations
with the physical environment.
These studies are contributing also to an understanding
of the demography of individual marine organisms, conservation
biology, and the effects of pollutants on marine populations.
The laboratories of Hal Caswell and Michael Neubert
are involved with studies that address the following
1. Population modelling: The development and analysis of matrix population models
and their application in conservation biology and ecotoxicology.
Stochastic matrix models and their sensitivity analysis.
Bifurcation patterns in density-dependent matrix models
in relation to life history structure.
2. Food web modelling: Studies of the effects of population structure and nonlinearity
on the dynamics of food webs and other ecological systems.
Characterizing the short-term responses of nonlinear
systems to perturbations. The effects of density-dependence
on chaos in plankton food webs.
3. Spatial systems: The combined effects of dispersal and life history structure.
The use of cellular automata and integrodifference equations
to study competitive coexistence, predator-prey interactions,
and species persistence in spatially distributed populations.
4. Physiological Models:Mathematical models are also used to learn more about the physiological responses of marine organisms. Research in Sam Laney's lab uses system analysis tools from electrical engineering to explore and describe the photosynthetic responses of marine phytoplankton to changes in the underwater light field.