Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New mathematical model can help save endangered species

14.01.2019

What does the blue whale have in common with the Bengal tiger and the green turtle? They share the risk of extinction and are classified as endangered species. There are multiple reasons for species to die out, and climate changes is among the main reasons.

The risk of extinction varies from species to species depending on how individuals in its populations reproduce and how long each animal survives. Understanding the dynamics of survival and reproduction can support management actions to improve a specie's chances of surviving.


This is the cover photo for article.

Credit: Blake Meyer on Unsplash

Mathematical and statistical models have become powerful tools to help explain these dynamics. However, the quality of the information we use to construct such models is crucial to improve our chances of accurately predicting the fate of populations in nature.

"A model that over-simplifies survival and reproduction can give the illusion that a population is thriving when in reality it will go extinct.", says associate professor Fernando Colchero, author of new paper published in Ecology Letters.

Colchero's research focuses on mathematically recreating the population dynamics by better understanding the species's demography. He works on constructing and exploring stochastic population models that predict how a certain population (for example an endangered species) will change over time.

These models include mathematical factors to describe how the species' environment, survival rates and reproduction determine to the population's size and growth. For practical reasons some assumptions are necessary.

Two commonly accepted assumptions are that survival and reproduction are constant with age, and that high survival in the species goes hand in hand with reproduction across all age groups within a species.

Colchero challenged these assumptions by accounting for age-specific survival and reproduction, and for trade-offs between survival and reproduction. This is, that sometimes conditions that favor survival will be unfavorable for reproduction, and vice versa.

For his work Colchero used statistics, mathematical derivations, and computer simulations with data from wild populations of 24 species of vertebrates. The outcome was a significantly improved model that had more accurate predictions for a species' population growth.

Despite the technical nature of Fernando's work, this type of model can have very practical implications as they provide qualified explanations for the underlying reasons for the extinction. This can be used to take management actions and may help prevent extinction of endangered species.

###

The study is published in the journal Ecology Letters led by Associate Professor Fernando Colchero from Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and the Interdisciplinary Center on Population Dynamics (CPop) at the University of Southern Denmark. The study was carried out in collaboration with with CPop members Asoc. Profs. Owen R. Jones and Dalia A. Conde from the Biology Department at SDU, and Annette Baudisch from the Faculty of Social Sciences, together with collaborators from over 20 institutions around the world.

Media Contact

Majken Brahe Ellegaard Christensen
majken@sdu.dk

 @NATsdu

http://www.sdu.dk/en/om_sdu/fakulteterne/naturvide 

Majken Brahe Ellegaard Christensen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://www.sdu.dk/en/om_sdu/fakulteterne/naturvidenskab/nyheder2019/2019_01_11_popmodel
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.13195
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/uosd-nmm011119.php

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Emissions from road construction could be halved using today’s technology
18.05.2020 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

nachricht When every particle counts: IOW develops comprehensive guidelines for microplastic extraction from environmental samples
11.05.2020 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Restoring vision by gene therapy

Latest scientific findings give hope for people with incurable retinal degeneration

Humans rely dominantly on their eyesight. Losing vision means not being able to read, recognize faces or find objects. Macular degeneration is one of the major...

Im Focus: Small Protein, Big Impact

In meningococci, the RNA-binding protein ProQ plays a major role. Together with RNA molecules, it regulates processes that are important for pathogenic properties of the bacteria.

Meningococci are bacteria that can cause life-threatening meningitis and sepsis. These pathogens use a small protein with a large impact: The RNA-binding...

Im Focus: K-State study reveals asymmetry in spin directions of galaxies

Research also suggests the early universe could have been spinning

An analysis of more than 200,000 spiral galaxies has revealed unexpected links between spin directions of galaxies, and the structure formed by these links...

Im Focus: New measurement exacerbates old problem

Two prominent X-ray emission lines of highly charged iron have puzzled astrophysicists for decades: their measured and calculated brightness ratios always disagree. This hinders good determinations of plasma temperatures and densities. New, careful high-precision measurements, together with top-level calculations now exclude all hitherto proposed explanations for this discrepancy, and thus deepen the problem.

Hot astrophysical plasmas fill the intergalactic space, and brightly shine in stellar coronae, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants. They contain...

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

New image of a cancer-related enzyme in action helps explain gene regulation

05.06.2020 | Life Sciences

Silicon 'neurons' may add a new dimension to computer processors

05.06.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Protecting the Neuronal Architecture

05.06.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>