The pulse of marine food chain models
It is essential to examine whether the mathematical description of marine food webs reflect the ecosystems they represent. A new proposal is integrating multiple mathematical disciplines and this requires collaboration on an international front.
“The American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) provides the logistics, financial support and space that facilitate collaboration and integration of different mathematical disciplines required to resolve the challenges this project poses”, says postdoctor Anna-Simone Frank (PI) from the Department of Informatics at the University of Bergen.
A SQuaRE - Structured Quartet Research Ensembles - is a research program held under the auspices of the AIM. Only 3% of SQuaRE proposals submitted to the AIM in 2021 were successful. The proposal by postdoctor Anna-Simone Frank (PI) from the Department of Informatics (UiB) is among the successful ones.
A tool for understanding
Marine ecosystems are usually defined by a complex and heterogeneous network of species (ranging from microbes to whales), which interact on multiple space and time scales. Such systems exhibit high levels of complex behavior, such as the ability to exist in, or reconfigure to alternative stable states.
For marine ecosystems, food chain models provide a tool for understanding the holistic dynamics and complexity of the system. These models are often used to predict, for example, the effect of climate change on marine ecosystems.
It is therefore essential to examine whether the mathematical description of marine food webs reflect the ecosystems they represent. If necessary, a new generation must be derived with mathematical model representations that are consistent with empirical observations and other axioms about marine ecosystems.
This requires the integration of multiple mathematical disciplines.
“We are grateful that AIM recognizes the uniqueness and innovation in this project, which requires collaboration on an international front,” says Frank.
"We have assembled a team of international scientists, which are working on the forefront of their specific fields to address the project challenges”.
The group consists of five mathematicians from Germany (FU Berlin/ZUSE Institute), USA (Univ. of California, Irvine) and Norway (UiB/IMR), as well as one computational biologist (USA).
The project has a duration of three years (2022-2025). Updates here.