PULLMAN, Wash. — A system for modeling the home ranges of carnivores will be presented by the 2003 Ostrom lecturer at Washington State University on March 12. Mark Lewis, Senior Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Biology at the University of Alberta, will deliver the 7:30 p.m. address titled “Mathematical Models for Carnivore Territories” set for the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education, Room 219, on the Pullman campus.
Lewis is noted for inserting biological measurements and observations into mathematical models to describe the function of ecosystems.
“Social carnivores, such as wolves and coyotes, have distinct and well-defined home ranges. During the formation of these home ranges, scent marks provide important cues regarding the use of space by familiar and foreign packs,” said Lewis. “In the talk, I will propose a set of mechanistic rules that can be used to understand the process of territorial pattern formation through interactions with scent marks.
Lewis will discuss different models, with and without a den site as an organizing center for spatial movement. Using realistic assumptions, the resulting territorial patterns include spontaneous formation of “buffer zones” between territories, which act as refuges for prey such as deer. He will also analyze the model using game theory, where the objective of each pack is to maximize its fitness by increasing intake of prey and by decreasing interactions with hostile neighboring packs. Predictions will be compared with radio tracking data for wolves and coyotes.
On Thursday, March 13, in Neil 5W, Lewis will also deliver a mathematics colloquium. His topic for that lecture is mathematical modeling to predict how quickly invading alien species may spread. It is entitled “Realistic models for biological invasion.”
Lewis has also used models to describe the re-colonization of the Mount St. Helens area following the 1980 eruption and elk migration in Yellowstone Park.
Prior to being named to head the University of Alberta’s new Centre for Mathematical Biology, Lewis was professor of mathematics at the University of Utah. He received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Victoria and his doctorate at the University of Oxford. He serves as president of the international Society for Mathematical Biology. Lewis was a Sloan Research Fellow and a National Science Foundation National Young Investigator. He serves on editorial boards for the Journal of Mathematical Biology, and Journal of Mathematics in Medicine and Biology as well as on the advisory boards of the Journal of Theoretical Biology and the newly formed Banff International Research Station
The annual Theodore G. Ostrom Lecture brings an internationally renown mathematics scholar to the Pullman campus for a series of presentations. The lecture honors Emeritus Professor Ostrom, who retired from WSU in 1981 after 21 years on the mathematics faculty.