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A Brief Introduction

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One of the only truly long-term sets of ecological data comes to us from the Hudson Bay Trading Company. They kept very good records, for over a century, of the number of lynx and hare pelts that they received from trappers in the region surrounding Hudson Bay. This data clearly suggests periodic increases and decreases in the hare-lynx populations. Mathematical population models reproduce this natural cycling tendency in predator–prey systems. Hares and Lynxes

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Single Population, P Why does this Differential Equation say? What does it predict? What are its limitations? Simplest Model: The growth rate of the population P is proportional to P. What controls the rate at which a population grows? The size of the population! P0P0 “Exponential Growth”

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If P is very small compared to C, then The population of grows exponentially. Single Population, Better Model P0P0 A Better model

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If P is very small compared to C, then The population of grows exponentially.... for a while! Single Population, Better Model P0P0 A Better model

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Single Population, P P0P0 A Better model On the other hand, as P nears C, the population growth slows down and the population stops growing altogether. The graph levels out at P=C. C

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Single Population, P P0P0 Logistic Growth C C is called the carrying capacity of the environment. It is the number of individuals that the environment can sustain before overcrowding and hunger limit the size of the population. This model of population growth is called “logistic growth.”

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A Simple Predator-Prey Model. Two interacting populations: Prey population--- “hares” --- H = number of hares Predator population --- “lynxes” --- L = number of lynxes. Robert M. May described a system of differential equations that models the interaction between the two species. The rates at which H and L are changing.

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A Simple Predator-Prey Model. Logistic growth term---in the absence of lynxes, the hare population grows Logistically. No Lynxes?

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A Simple Predator-Prey Model. Interaction terms---when hares and lynxes meet up, hares die and lynxes thrive

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A Simple Predator-Prey Model. Why the product of H and L ? The total possible number of meetings of hares and lynxes is the product of H and L. Coefficent α is the percentage of the total possible number of meetings in which a rabbit dies. Coefficient β? (Not equal to α !) Note: α « 1 ; β « 1.

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A Simple Predator-Prey Model. The “death term”

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A Simple Predator-Prey Model. No Hares? Why is this coefficient negative? In the absence of Hares, the Lynxes die off at an exponential rate.

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A Simple Predator-Prey Model. 500 1500 1000 2000 2500 Taking some reasonable values for the parameters and some initial conditions, we have... HaresLynxes

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A Simple Predator-Prey Model.HaresLynxes 500 1500 1000 2000 2500 What does this model predict about the populations of Lynxes and Hares in the short term? in the long term? Notice the way that the cycles “interact.”

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