The CORE program consists of three-components:
The goals of the first semester of the UBM-CORE program are to:
- introduce our students to mathematical biology through a discussion of its history, development, and current research,
- discuss relevant mathematical models and statistical methods that are used in ecological research
- bring them up-to-date on the biological concerns regarding invasive species in the upper Mississippi River system,
- present them with avenues to pursue for their summer projects
- have students conduct background reading and master techniques needed for their research,
- encourage students to work together to develop a research hypothesis and outline a plan for their summer research experience
Week 1: Initial meeting: introductions, outline of spring semester, initial assessment. (All)
Week 2: What is Mathematical Biology? History & society. Current hot topics. Focused on invasive disease and river ecology. (All)
- Primary Papers:
- Mathematics is Biology’s next microscope, only better; Biology is Mathematics’ next Physics, only better
- Uses and abuses of mathematics in biology
- Additional Papers:
- The Crossroads between Biology and Mathematics: The Scientific Method as the Basics of Scientific Literacy
- A Bright Future for Biologists and Mathematicians?
Week 3: Introduction to Mathematical Modeling and Statistical Analysis (Peirce/Bennie)
- The mathematics of mosquitoes and West Nile Virus
Week 4: Introduction to Upper Mississippi River System. Snail/Parasite/Waterfowl development cycle. (Sandland/Haro)
- Species interactions in a parasite community drive infection risk in a wildlife population
- Predicting the ecological outcomes of species invasions and parasite transmission in the upper Mississippi River
Week 5: Developing a strong hypothesis statement. (Sandland)
- Strong Inference: Certain systematic methods of scientific thinking may produce much more rapid progress than others.
Week 6: Discussion and outline of possible research avenues in the program. (All)
Week 7: U.S. Geological Survey Upper Mississippi Environmental Science Center tour
- Finding the Exotic Faucet Snail (Bithynia tentaculata): Investigation of Waterbird Die-Offs on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge
Spring Break - Students think about and select direction for study and write one paragraph summary.
Week 8 - Student presentations of proposed research hypothesis/direction. (All)
Week 9 - Introduction to relevant mathematical and biological background content for proposed research directions: Non-dimensionalization techniques for SIR and DEB models. (Peirce)
Week 10 - Lab Immersion (Sandland)
Week 11 - Answered questions about primary literature reading, discussed relevance towards our system, and refined topics for summer projects (Sandland/Peirce)
Week 12 - Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training. (Sandland/Peirce).
Week 13 - Student presentations of proposed summer work and group discussion. (All)
Week 14 - Continued discussion from Week 13. Plan/outline for summer. (All)
Team SIR (M. Jansen & M. Rittenhouse)
Project: Assessing competition between infected and uninfected B. tentaculata.
Preliminary results: Uninfected snails exhibit faster growth in the presence of infected snails compared to other uninfected snails.
Next step: Growth differences will be used to calculate competition coefficients. These will be incorporated into our current model of disease dynamics in the Mississippi River.
Team DEB (K. Soltau & K. Van Calster)
Project: Investigating resource allocation in infected and uninfected B. tentaculata.
Preliminary results: Infected snails grow to a larger size than uninfected controls suggesting the manifestation of gigantism.
Next step: Data from this study will contribute to the development of energy budget models designed to predict snail responses to infection
To be announced.