Matching Items (6)

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Prey-predator-parasite: an ecosystem model with fragile persistence

Description

Using a simple $SI$ infection model, I uncover the

overall dynamics of the system and how they depend on the incidence

function. I consider both an epidemic and endemic perspective of the

model,

Using a simple $SI$ infection model, I uncover the

overall dynamics of the system and how they depend on the incidence

function. I consider both an epidemic and endemic perspective of the

model, but in both cases, three classes of incidence

functions are identified.

In the epidemic form,

power incidences, where the infective portion $I^p$ has $p\in(0,1)$,

cause unconditional host extinction,

homogeneous incidences have host extinction for certain parameter constellations and

host survival for others, and upper density-dependent incidences

never cause host extinction. The case of non-extinction in upper

density-dependent

incidences extends to the case where a latent period is included.

Using data from experiments with rhanavirus and salamanders,

maximum likelihood estimates are applied to the data.

With these estimates,

I generate the corrected Akaike information criteria, which

reward a low likelihood and punish the use of more parameters.

This generates the Akaike weight, which is used to fit

parameters to the data, and determine which incidence functions

fit the data the best.

From an endemic perspective, I observe

that power incidences cause initial condition dependent host extinction for

some parameter constellations and global stability for others,

homogeneous incidences have host extinction for certain parameter constellations and

host survival for others, and upper density-dependent incidences

never cause host extinction.

The dynamics when the incidence function is homogeneous are deeply explored.

I expand the endemic considerations in the homogeneous case

by adding a predator into the model.

Using persistence theory, I show the conditions for the persistence of each of the

predator, prey, and parasite species. Potential dynamics of the system include parasite mediated

persistence of the predator, survival of the ecosystem at high initial predator levels and

ecosystem collapse at low initial predator levels, persistence of all three species, and much more.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Free water fuels intraguild predation in a riparian food web

Description

In desert riparian ecosystems, rivers provide free water but access to that water diminishes with distance producing a steep gradient in the relative importance of water for growth and reproduction

In desert riparian ecosystems, rivers provide free water but access to that water diminishes with distance producing a steep gradient in the relative importance of water for growth and reproduction of riparian animals and hence, their biodiversity. Previous work suggests that water limited riparian predators eat more prey to meet their water demand where free water is not available. Here I explore the effect of water limitation on prey selection and per capita interaction strengths between a predatory spider ( Hogna antelucana) and two prey species occupying different trophic levels using a controlled field experiment conducted in the riparian forest of the San Pedro River, Cochise County, AZ. Lab measurements of water and energy content revealed that intermediate predators (smaller spiders in the genus Pardosa) had 100-fold higher energy: water ratios than an alternate prey species more basal in the food web (crickets in the genus Gryllus). Given this observation, I hypothesized that water-stressed predatory wolf spiders would select more water-laden crickets but switch to more energy rich Pardosa when water stress was experimentally eliminated. Additionally, I hypothesized that switching by quenched Hogna to Pardosa would reduce predation by Pardosa on Gryllus leading to increased abundance of the basal resource. Finally, I hypothesized that water mediated switching and release of basal prey would be stronger when male Hogna was the apex predator, because female Hogna have higher energetic costs of reproduction and hence, stronger energy limitation. Experimental water additions caused both sexes of Hogna to consume significantly higher numbers of Pardosa but this difference (between water and no-water treatments) did not vary significantly between male and female Hogna treatments. Similarly, strong negative interaction strengths between Hogna and Pardosa led to release of the basal prey species and positive interaction strengths of Hogna on Gryllus. Again strong positive, indirect effects of Hogna on Gryllus did not depend on the sex of the Hogna predator. However, water mediated indirect effects of Hogna (either sex) on Gryllus were the strongest for male Gryllus. These results suggest that water and energy co-dominate foraging decisions by predators and that in managing water-energy balance; predators can modify interaction pathways, sex-ratios of prey populations and trophic dynamics.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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An exploration of statistical modelling methods on simulation data case study: biomechanical predator-prey simulations

Description

Modern, advanced statistical tools from data mining and machine learning have become commonplace in molecular biology in large part because of the “big data” demands of various kinds of “-omics”

Modern, advanced statistical tools from data mining and machine learning have become commonplace in molecular biology in large part because of the “big data” demands of various kinds of “-omics” (e.g., genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, etc.). However, in other fields of biology where empirical data sets are conventionally smaller, more traditional statistical methods of inference are still very effective and widely used. Nevertheless, with the decrease in cost of high-performance computing, these fields are starting to employ simulation models to generate insights into questions that have been elusive in the laboratory and field. Although these computational models allow for exquisite control over large numbers of parameters, they also generate data at a qualitatively different scale than most experts in these fields are accustomed to. Thus, more sophisticated methods from big-data statistics have an opportunity to better facilitate the often-forgotten area of bioinformatics that might be called “in-silicomics”.

As a case study, this thesis develops methods for the analysis of large amounts of data generated from a simulated ecosystem designed to understand how mammalian biomechanics interact with environmental complexity to modulate the outcomes of predator–prey interactions. These simulations investigate how other biomechanical parameters relating to the agility of animals in predator–prey pairs are better predictors of pursuit outcomes. Traditional modelling techniques such as forward, backward, and stepwise variable selection are initially used to study these data, but the number of parameters and potentially relevant interaction effects render these methods impractical. Consequently, new modelling techniques such as LASSO regularization are used and compared to the traditional techniques in terms of accuracy and computational complexity. Finally, the splitting rules and instances in the leaves of classification trees provide the basis for future simulation with an economical number of additional runs. In general, this thesis shows the increased utility of these sophisticated statistical techniques with simulated ecological data compared to the approaches traditionally used in these fields. These techniques combined with methods from industrial Design of Experiments will help ecologists extract novel insights from simulations that combine habitat complexity, population structure, and biomechanics.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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Mathematical modeling of intraguild predation and its dynamics in ecology

Description

A functioning food web is the basis of a functioning community and ecosystem. Thus, it is important to understand the dynamics that control species behaviors and interactions. Alterations to the

A functioning food web is the basis of a functioning community and ecosystem. Thus, it is important to understand the dynamics that control species behaviors and interactions. Alterations to the fundamental dynamics can prove detrimental to the future success of our environment. Research and analysis focus on the global dynamics involved in intraguild predation (IGP), a three species subsystem involving both competition and predation. A mathematical model is derived using differential equations based on pre-existing models to accurately predict species behavior. Analyses provide sufficient conditions for species persistence and extinction that can be used to explain global dynamics. Dynamics are compared for two separate models, one involving a specialist predator and the second involving a generalist predator, where systems involving a specialist predator are prone to unstable dynamics. Analyses have implications in biological conservation tactics including various methods of prevention and preservation. Simulations are used to compare dynamics between models involving continuous time and those involving discrete time. Furthermore, we derive a semi-discrete model that utilizes both continuous and discrete time series dynamics. Simulations imply that Holling's Type III functional response controls the potential for three species persistence. Complicated dynamics govern the IGP subsystem involving the white-footed mouse, gypsy moth, and oak, and they ultimately cause the synchronized defoliation of forests across the Northeastern United States. Acorn mast seasons occur every 4-5 years, and they occur simultaneously across a vast geographic region due to universal cues. Research confirms that synchronization can be transferred across trophic levels to explain how this IGP system ultimately leads to gypsy moth outbreaks. Geographically referenced data is used to track and slow the spread of gypsy moths further into the United States. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used to create visual, readily accessible, displays of trap records, defoliation frequency, and susceptible forest stands. Mathematical models can be used to explain both changes in population densities and geographic movement. Analyses utilizing GIS softwares offer a different, but promising, way of approaching the vast topic of conservation biology. Simulations and maps are produced that can predict the effects of conservation efforts.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Ambient light environment and the evolution of brightness, chroma, and perceived chromaticity in the warning signals of butterflies

Description

ABSTRACT 1. Aposematic signals advertise prey distastefulness or metabolic unprofitability to potential predators and have evolved independently in many prey groups over the course of evolutionary history as a means

ABSTRACT 1. Aposematic signals advertise prey distastefulness or metabolic unprofitability to potential predators and have evolved independently in many prey groups over the course of evolutionary history as a means of protection from predation. Most aposematic signals investigated to date exhibit highly chromatic patterning; however, relatives in these toxic groups with patterns of very low chroma have been largely overlooked. 2. We propose that bright displays with low chroma arose in toxic prey species because they were more effective at deterring predation than were their chromatic counterparts, especially when viewed in relatively low light environments such as forest understories. 3. We analyzed the reflectance and radiance of color patches on the wings of 90 tropical butterfly species that belong to groups with documented toxicity that vary in their habitat preferences to test this prediction: Warning signal chroma and perceived chromaticity are expected to be higher and brightness lower in species that fly in open environments when compared to those that fly in forested environments. 4. Analyses of the reflectance and radiance of warning color patches and predator visual modeling support this prediction. Moreover, phylogenetic tests, which correct for statistical non-independence due to phylogenetic relatedness of test species, also support the hypothesis of an evolutionary correlation between perceived chromaticity of aposematic signals and the flight habits of the butterflies that exhibit these signals.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Prey-predator "host-parasite" models with adaptive dispersal: application to social animals

Description

Foraging strategies in social animals are often shaped by change in an organism's natural surrounding. Foraging behavior can hence be highly plastic, time, and condition dependent. The motivation of my

Foraging strategies in social animals are often shaped by change in an organism's natural surrounding. Foraging behavior can hence be highly plastic, time, and condition dependent. The motivation of my research is to explore the effects of dispersal behavior in predators or parasites on population dynamics in heterogeneous environments by developing varied models in different contexts through closely working with ecologists. My models include Ordinary Differential Equation (ODE)-type meta population models and Delay Differential Equation (DDE) models with validation through data. I applied dynamical theory and bifurcation theory with carefully designed numerical simulations to have a better understanding on the profitability and cost of an adaptive dispersal in organisms. My work on the prey-predator models provide important insights on how different dispersal strategies may have different impacts on the spatial patterns and also shows that the change of dispersal strategy in organisms may have stabilizing or destabilizing effects leading to extinction or coexistence of species. I also develop models for honeybee population dynamics and its interaction with the parasitic Varroa mite. At first, I investigate the effect of dispersal on honeybee colonies under infestation by the Varroa mites. I then provide another single patch model by considering a stage structure time delay system from brood to adult honeybee. Through a close collaboration with a biologist, a honeybee and mite population data was first used to validate my model and I estimated certain unknown parameters by utilizing least square Monte Carlo method. My analytical, bifurcations, sensitivity analysis, and numerical studies first reveal the dynamical outcomes of migration. In addition, the results point us in the direction of the most sensitive life history parameters affecting the population size of a colony. These results provide novel insights on the effects of foraging and Varroa mites on colony survival.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017