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Darren O'Sullivan
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— On Monday, October 17, Daniel Reuman, a postdoctoral research associate in the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University, will give a lecture at Bard College on the history of the study of food webs. The lecture, "Food Webs of the Past, Present, and Future: From Static Community Descriptions to Predictive Tool,” is part of Bard's Frontiers in Science Lecture Series, which presents current scientific ideas, trends, and concepts to the Bard community in an accessible fashion. The lecture is free and open to the public and takes place at 5 p.m. in room 115 of the Olin Language Center. Reuman will provide a conceptual history of the study of food webs, and will include speculation about possible future developments in the field. A food web is a picture of all the species occurring in an ecosystem, such as a lake, with arrows going from each prey species to each of its predators. Food webs were originally seen only as a way of describing the unique composition of individual ecosystems. Over the last few decades, however, structures common to the food webs of most ecosystems have been discovered. General principles have emerged, and mathematical models describing food webs have been developed. Recently, these models have come closer to theories on how ecosystems function as additional data, such as the average body mass and population density of each species, have been added to the traditional food web picture. Future research may permit realistic predictions of the interacting population fluctuations of all species in a food web. It may become possible to predict the consequences of disturbances such as species loss and global warming. Reuman’s research interests include applications of mathematics to ecology and epidemiology, applications of mathematics to social policy analysis problems, and representation theory of p-adic groups. He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in mathematics from the University of Chicago and his B.A. in mathematics from Harvard University. He has taught at the University of Chicago and Harvard University and served as an instructor at Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. Reuman is a member of the American Mathematical Society and the New York Academy of Sciences. For more information about the lecture, call 845-758-7581. # # # (9.21.05)

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This event was last updated on 10-18-2005