Date Thesis Awarded
Bachelors of Science (BS)
Modeling zooplankton dynamics accurately is increasingly important because zooplankton can have a critical impact on several environmental issues ranging from eutrophication to climate change. Because of the importance of zooplankton in marine ecosystems, there is a need to develop precise mathematical models. Most models, however, set zooplankton mortality as due to predation only. This approach is inaccurate as many zooplankton can die from non-predatory causes such as disease or starvation. Here we construct a model that includes both predatory and non-predatory zooplankton mortality rather than a linear differential equation model that relies on curve-fitting to data. Through MATLAB simulations, this theoretical nonlinear model was found to be a strongly contracting system even under certain amounts of stochastic influence. While a linear approach when modeling marine species is the natural first step, a nonlinear approach, which is based more on mathematical and ecological theories rather than curve-fitting, allows for more complicated and realistic dynamics in addition to more accurate predictions.
King, Catherine, "Nonlinear Models of Zooplankton Communities" (2014). Undergraduate Honors Theses. Paper 71.