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:8/28/2014)... Clinic researcher and his collaborators have developed an online ... process of re-engineering cells for biomedical investigation. CellNet is ... to aid stem cell engineering. Details of CellNet and ... two back-to-back papers in the journal Cell . ... uses for all types of cell-based investigations and can ...
(Date:8/28/2014)... Athens, Ga. The support of peer groups ... effective breastfeeding programs, according to recent University of ... mothers in the Athens-Clarke County area determined that ... the outcomes of mothers of infants. , "Mothers ... be successful at breastfeeding," said study co-author Alex ...
(Date:8/28/2014)... A unique method for delivering compounds that ... HIV and AIDS may be possible, thanks ... Agricultural Sciences., A semi-soft vaginal suppository made ... loaded with the antiviral drug Tenofovir provides ... against the spread of sexually transmitted infections ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):New tool aids stem cell engineering for medical research 2Breastfeeding study shows need for effective peer counseling programs 2Sensory-tested drug-delivery vehicle could limit spread of HIV, AIDS 2Sensory-tested drug-delivery vehicle could limit spread of HIV, AIDS 3
(Date:8/28/2014)... “This kit has an improved extraction efficiency ... to 150 ppb,” said Mark Tess, PhD, Mycotoxin Product Manager ... plant owners and USDA-GIPSA inspection agencies that have a need ... take place in a matter of minutes with nothing but ... the feed and grain before accepting it, but they no ...
(Date:8/28/2014)... August 28, 2014 The ability for ... culture that will allow individuals to perform at the ... important for employers looking to compete in this post–recession ... embracing this trend, as the sector increasingly focuses on ... company, which will have real results on the organization's ...
(Date:8/28/2014)... 2014  Armetheon, Inc. ( www.armetheon.com ), a ... late-stage cardiovascular drug candidates, today announced that it ... of financing. The Series A round was co-led ... participation from investors that included Atheneos Capital and ... Larry Hsu , the founder of Impax Laboratories. ...
(Date:8/28/2014)... Earlier this month, a report was ... the U.S. Air Force on the performance of vehicles ... this type of fuel made from mustard seeds, offered ... to America’s Eco friendly future. In fact, every branch ... become independent of foreign oil over the next few ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Klein Hersh International Leads Philadelphia Area Life Science Industry in Company Culture 2Klein Hersh International Leads Philadelphia Area Life Science Industry in Company Culture 3Armetheon Completes $7.0 Million Series A Financing 2Armetheon Completes $7.0 Million Series A Financing 3Can Small Farmers and a New Seed Based Biofuel “Green” the World? Major Universities and Even the U.S. Air Force Seem to Think So 2Can Small Farmers and a New Seed Based Biofuel “Green” the World? Major Universities and Even the U.S. Air Force Seem to Think So 3Can Small Farmers and a New Seed Based Biofuel “Green” the World? Major Universities and Even the U.S. Air Force Seem to Think So 4Can Small Farmers and a New Seed Based Biofuel “Green” the World? Major Universities and Even the U.S. Air Force Seem to Think So 5
Cached News: