October 11 2013

1:00 pm 11360 Young Research

This seminar is sponsored by The Jacob Marschak Interdisciplinary Colloquium

Van Savage
UCLA, Dept of EEB and Biomathematics

Cold-Blooded Killers and Their Bodies: How Temperature and Size Affect Consumer-Resource Interactions


The Jacob Marschak Interdisciplinary Colloquium on
Mathematics in the Behavioral Sciences at UCLA

Young Research Library Conference Room 11360
Friday October 11, 2013
Lunch 12-1 pm — RSVP to | Talk 1-2:30 pm — no RSVP required

Speaker: Van Savage, Associate Professor of Biomathematics and of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA, and External Faculty, Santa Fe Institute

Host: Priyanga Amarasekare, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

Cold-blooded Killers and Their Bodies: How Temperature and Size Affect Consumer-Resource Interactions Understanding how mass and energy move between organisms, from resources to consumers, and how these local-scale interactions unite to drive and stabilize patterns at the population and community levels is a major goal in ecology. Biological scaling theory tries to quantify and explain how biological rates and times (e.g., metabolic rate, growth rate, and lifespan) depend on individual body size and temperature. Consequently, it holds promise for making general ecological predictions, including for how ecosystems may respond to climate change. In this talk, I discuss how biological scaling theory has largely ignored interactions between individuals and species, causing it to miss important effects that arise due to basic behavioral strategies involved in the interaction as well as physiological differences (e.g., cold-blooded consumer and warm-blooded resource) between the interacting species. I present recent work in which my group has focused on consumer-resource pairs and developed a model to predict how the component functional traits, including body velocity, detection distance, handling time, and attack rate, scale with body size and body temperature. To test these predictions, we have compiled, organized, and analyzed extensive empirical data that represent an unprecedented diversity of consumer-resource species, habitats, and foraging strategies. Predictions and empirical results can be understood by categorizing results as to whether an active-capture, sit-and-wait, or grazing foraging strategy was used and whether the consumer searches for the resource in two or three dimensions. We use these results to construct consumer-resource equations that naturally and explicitly include effects of body size and temperature on the interactions, and thus can be used to make initial predictions for equilibrium population size, probabilities of invasions, and coexistence conditions.

Van has strong interests in the effects of climate change on ecological systems, the structure and dynamics of vascular systems, and evolutionary medicine. His research program has culminated in almost 50 articles that have appeared in journals such as Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. These papers have received over 5,000 citations and coverage in the popular press. Van’s graduate training was in theoretical particle physics at Washington University in St. Louis. He subsequently switched his research focus to problems in mathematical biology while a postdoctoral fellow at the Santa Fe Institute and Los Alamos National Laboratory. His work continued through two appointments at Harvard University before coming to UCLA. Van’s work explicitly connects biological scaling theory, which captures how physiological rates and times change with body size and temperature across species, to biomedical problems as well as ecological and evolutionary dynamics. Van’s goal is to obtain a more fundamental and quantitative understanding of biological systems that could help to inform and improve decisions in applied settings.

The Jacob Marschak Interdisciplinary Colloquium on Mathematics in the Behavioral Sciences was founded 50 years ago by Jacob Marschak, a pioneer in the economics of information. It is directed by Susanne Lohmann (Political Science and Public Policy) in collaboration with Dan Blumstein (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), Louis Gomez (Education), and Mark Kleiman (Public Policy). Michael Intriligator (Economics, Political Science, Public Policy, and Management) is Honorary Lifetime Director. The Marschak Colloquium meets every other Friday 12-1 pm (lunch) and 1-2:30 pm (lecture and questions) in Young Research Library Conference Room 11360.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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