subscribe: Posts | Comments

The mathematics flowing source

0 comments
This curious phenomenon called the "paradox of drift" is the realm of mathematical biology. Frithjof Lutscher has been interested for more than ten years in the area to which he devoted his doctoral studies. Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, he applies rigorous mathematical analysis to the subtleties of the biological world. This enables him to deal with complex cases, which seem meaningless otherwise.
 
"It surprises me often see that simple equations can describe a complex system and report data pretty well," he said.
Take the paradox of drift. It is possible to use equations to create a mathematical model that explains how some aquatic insects jump from one point to another in the bed of a watercourse throwing himself in a powerful current. This model produced the image of turmoil and turbulence that make possible such jumps as well as upstream to downstream.
 
After quantified the conditions that allow a single species to continue to live in this kind
changing environment, Lutscher and his colleagues of Alberta were able to apply the same principles to a scenario that describes several species in competition. Their findings have unearthed new mechanisms governing the coexistence of these species and the limits of their dispersion in a watercourse.
 

According to Professor Lutscher, these findings are only stimulate a much greater willingness to understand the mechanisms that explain the diversity of species in our world and the dynamic processes that determine where they can gather."Modelling is a very interesting and very exciting and we're just beginning to understand how to teach, he says. Yet this is where I learn the most because I have the opportunity to interact with biologists. "

Meanwhile, biologists are often interested to talk to him. Lutscher has just joined the National Research Network on aquatic invasive species, a multidisciplinary research initiative that aims to predict and even prevent the invasion of new bodies in different areas of the ecosystem of Canada. The researcher's contribution to this work could have a major impact, since the migration of species in the oceans and continents are almost impossible to reproduce, whether in a laboratory or an experimental station.
"It is so large scale that is difficult and sometimes impossible completely to experiment," he said, adding that nobody wants to watch such invasions. "But as the consequences of intervention might be unfortunate dramatic, even dangerous, mathematical modelling offers us a powerful tool to guide any form of action. "

"These are risks that we do not want to take with nature before you get a glimpse of what we do. "
Do you want to share your comments on the article you just read, or about Perspectives on research in general? Do you have a great idea for an article you would like to see appear in an upcoming issue of Perspectives on research? Send us your comments and ideas!