HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Pendulums, predators and prey: The ecology of coupled oscillations

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Connect one pendulum to another with a spring, and in time the motions of the two swinging levers will become coordinated.

This behavior of coupled oscillators---long a fascination of physicists and mathematicians---also can help biologists seeking to understand such questions as why some locations overflow with plants and animals while others are bereft, University of Michigan theoretical ecologist John Vandermeer maintains.

In the cover article for the December issue of the journal BioScience, Vandermeer summarizes theoretical work he has done over the past decade, leading to his conclusion that ecologists seeking to understand complex interactions in nature should pay closer attention to coupled oscillations.

The basic idea of oscillating populations is not new to ecology.

"We know that any predator-prey system, say lions and zebras for example, shows oscillations," said Vandermeer, who is the Margaret Davis Collegiate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. "If there are lots of lions preying on zebras, numbers of zebras decline; then because zebras are scarce, lions starve and their numbers dwindle, allowing the zebra population to build up again. You see this oscillation, changing on a regular basis from lots of predators with few prey to lots of prey with few predators. The pattern is like waves or pulsations."

What gets interesting is when two independently oscillating systems, such as lions preying on zebras and cheetahs preying on impalas, become connected through the invasion of a third predator---leopards, for instance.

"When they become connected, the situation is very much like connecting two springs together---the ups and downs get into regular patterns." In the case of lions, cheetahs and leopards, bringing leopards into the system causes lion and cheetah populations to oscillate in phase with each other----peaking and declining at the same time. That works to the le
'"/>

Contact: Nancy Ross-Flanigan
rossflan@umich.edu
734-647-1853
University of Michigan
1-Dec-2006


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Prey not hard-wired to fear predators
2. Marine phytoplankton changes form to protect itself from different predators
3. Alien predators are more dangerous than native predators
4. Wheat can fatally starve insect predators
5. Pressured by predators, lizards see rapid shift in natural selection
6. USGS at The Wildlife Society: From sea-ice change to contaminants to predators and prey
7. Time of day tempers tadpoles response to predators
8. Sea slug mixes chemical defense before firing at predators
9. Creeping crinoids! Sea lilies crawl to escape predators, new video shows
10. Chickadees alarm calls carry information about size, threat of predators
11. Super predators and mass extinctions; extreme NMR; and the worlds smallest solenoids

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: Pendulums predators and prey The ecology coupled oscillations

(Date:4/24/2014)... world,s oceans play a crucial role in the ... ecosystems and atmosphere. Now scientists at Scripps Institution ... a leap forward in understanding the microscopic underpinnings ... dioxide to make new cells, a substantial portion ... sea as a buffet of edible molecules collectively ...
(Date:4/24/2014)... EAST LANSING, Mich. --- New research shows that cells ... than scientists originally thought. Even when missing critical components, ... in an alternative way. , In a study published ... of researchers at Michigan State University showed that cells ... duplicate their DNA. , "Our genetic information is stored ...
(Date:4/24/2014)... pleased to announce that it has assumed ownership of ... University of Wisconsin. , The Journal of ... journal that publishes papers on all aspects of the ... molecular to the ecological -- as well as their ... individuals and institutions, and it provides a reasonably priced ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Microscopic organism plays a big role in ocean carbon cycling, Scripps scientists discover 2Microscopic organism plays a big role in ocean carbon cycling, Scripps scientists discover 3Cell resiliency surprises scientists 2ESA to publish the Journal of Insect Science 2
(Date:1/14/2014)... January 14, 2014 In recent years, ... and methods in product development and promotion has led ... This mistrust, fueled by concerns about the insidious impact ... reports of spectacular fines to the world’s biggest pharmas ...
(Date:1/14/2014)... Global Record Systems, LLC, (GRS), a ... for patients, physicians, the biopharmaceutical industry, regulators, payers, ... signing of a three-year Research Collaboration Agreement (RCA) ... This initiative is designed to generate disruptive ...
(Date:1/14/2014)... Bellingham, Washington, USA, and Cardiff, UK (PRWEB) January 13, ... and photonics technology development leader with more than 20 ... international society for optics and photonics . Hainsey will ... “We are delighted to have Dr. Hainsey join SPIE ...
(Date:1/14/2014)... 14, 2014 During the 1600’s through the ... “The Doctor’s Plague.” In this time period, doctors did not ... at times, to the death of vulnerable patients. In the ... that they may be unwittingly transmitting herpes viruses to their ...
Breaking Biology Technology:The Sunshine Act: Necessary Regulation or Unnecessary Dysregulation? New Life Science Webinar Hosted by Xtalks and IRB Services 2The Sunshine Act: Necessary Regulation or Unnecessary Dysregulation? New Life Science Webinar Hosted by Xtalks and IRB Services 3Global Record Systems Announces Research Collaboration Agreement with FDA to Create a Novel “Big Data” Paradigm for Collection of Patient Safety and Outcomes Information 2Photonics R&D Leader Bob Hainsey Joins SPIE Technical Staff 2Study: Fatigued Medical Interns Infect Their Patients with Herpes Viruses; The CBCD Sees a Parallel with “The Doctor’s Plague” 2Study: Fatigued Medical Interns Infect Their Patients with Herpes Viruses; The CBCD Sees a Parallel with “The Doctor’s Plague” 3
Cached News: