Project Background

One of the key messages of the Ecology Lab on mathematical modeling was to give some evidence that collaborative groups of people in varied scientific disciplines can often accomplish more than the individuals. The mathematics/biology collaborative seminar has been running since spring 2007, but we developed the presentation on modeling cat and bird dynamics over the course of a year.

At first, our goal was to understand the modeling techniques in the article by Courchamp & Sugihara, 1999, but as we played with the differential equations, we found that understanding the models required (1) a lot of biological expertise (Mark and Emily), (2) approaches to analyzing coupled systems of differential equations (Dr. Novak and Dr. Fitchett), and (3) technological tools for simulating the model and playing with parameters (Joe and Kristin).

Project Participants

In no particular order, the following people helped develop the Alien Cats presentation and lab:


  • Dr. Jodie Novak
  • Dr. Steph Fitchett
  • Joe Champion
  • Kristin King


  • Mark Hayes
  • Emily Snode
  • Brandon Bales