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Prof talks math, biology and wolves
By Kaylee Ratliff–
Mark Lewis, a professor at University of Alberta, discussed how math and biology determines why people and animals live where they live in this year’s mathematics Bullitt Lecture.
On March 21, Lewis presented his models and mathematics and showed how they applied to his research on wolves and their territories.
“Typically, if you look over large territory for an animal like the wolf, there will be bold shape scent marking patterns,” explained Lewis. “The edges of the territories have the higher densities of scent marks.” He explained how these scent markings can cause other wolves to change their course, thus creating territories.
Lewis has researched wolves to learn about their spatial patterns in terms of behavior. “One of the great things about where I live now is a lot of the data we get is more or less from my backyard.”
Lewis discussed territorial interaction such as searching for food and scent marking. He presented data in the form of maps showing the defined edges of particular wolf packs.
Lewis is a senior Canada research chair in mathematical biology, a professor and chief editor of the “Journal of Mathematical Biology.” He has taught at various universities, received many scientific awards and has published six books.