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:


(Date:5/23/2017)... the first robotic gym for the rehabilitation and functional motor sense evaluation ... Genoa, Italy . The first 30 robots will be available from ... . The technology was developed and patented at the IIT laboratories ... Technology thanks to a 10 million euro investment from entrepreneur Sergio Dompè. ... ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... New York , April 19, 2017 ... competitive, as its vendor landscape is marked by the ... the market is however held by five major players ... Safran. Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% of ... of the leading companies in the global military biometrics ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, ... secure authentication solutions, today announced that it has ... Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation ... program. "Innovation has been a driving ... Thor program will allow us to innovate and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/16/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... July 16, 2017 , ... ... equipment and analytical instruments announced the launch of its new line of Extreme ... ideal for applications that require CO2 and humidity for optimal cell growth such ...
(Date:7/14/2017)... ... 14, 2017 , ... Sonic Manufacturing Technologies is proud to ... a solar system on its roof top. “We will be independent of the ... Raab stated. The company’s proud history of social responsibility and participation in the ...
(Date:7/14/2017)... ... July 13, 2017 , ... LGC Maine Standards ... US FDA 510 (k) clearance for use on Siemens Sysmex® CS-2500 System analyzers. ... D-Dimer kit, prepared using the CLSI EP06-A “equal delta” sample preparation, offers five ...
(Date:7/13/2017)... ... July 13, 2017 , ... Thousands of pilots from across the country will ... Championships (Nats). Pilots come to Muncie to compete in various categories of model flying ... that participate in world championships. , RC Pylon (July 14-21): One of the most ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: