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This cooperation project with AIMS Senegal will develop a new simulating tool for assessing habitat effects on predator-prey populations with complex life histories. This tool will be adopted to undertake novel research and for educational purposes. The general aim of the research will be to explore (1) how top predator distributions may shift in response to changing oceanic seascapes and (2) the potential for adaptations of various feeding behaviours.
More specifically, we will develop an individual-based model for iconic top predators with plausible energetics and behaviours. We will calibrate and validate the model using single-prey scenarios against published observations for prey consumption rates, predator group dynamics, and demography. We will then explore the emergent properties of both single-prey and multiple-prey model formulations With respect to existing models, we will introduce elements of novelty in relation to feeding behaviour and habitat structure. In particular, we will introduce explicit prey switching and realistic distributions of populations.
Recent advances in electronic tagging techniques provided the capacity to collect valuable data on the movements of animals in relation to ocean processes. The field programme Tagging of Pacific Predators, deployed thousands of tags on more than 20 species in the North Pacific Ocean, thus producing a tracking data set of unprecedented scale and species diversity that covers more than 265,000 tracking days from 2000 to 2009 (see Block et al. 2011). However, this amazing wealth of data requires mathematical models capable of integrating information on environmental conditions with ecological interactions to reveal the underlying ecological processes that shape the abundance and distributions of populations. The integration of these data into our modelling framework will be a key aspect in our project.
Finally, the second major components of this cooperative project involves various educational activities such as workshops and seminars. Two workshops will be organised in 2018 and 2019, respectively at AIMS Senegal ("Modelling and Analysis of Complex Systems") and ZMT Bremen ("Nonlinear Dynamical Systems").
|Prof. Moustapha Fall (AIMS Senegal)|