Speaker: Jeffrey Schenker, Michigan State University

Title: Random Walk Models and Applied Chemical Ecology

Date: 05/05/2017

Time: 4:10 PM - 5:00 PM

Place: 1502 Engineering Building

Farmers and pest managers make decisions about when to apply chemical insecticide sprays based on numbers of pests captured in monitoring traps. However until very recently there has not been a sound scientific understanding of the quantitative relationship between capture numbers and actual population densities. Using a combination of computer random walk models and marked release recapture field experiments we have begun to develop a mechanistic theory of insect trapping. The analysis of the random walk models has led to some mathematical surprises. In this talk I will describe the scientific background briefly and then turn to the mathematical story of the associated random walk models. I will present strong numerical evidence for a conjectured "renormalization" of trap radii that is needed for the central limit/invariance principle analysis for these random walks. (Joint work with Jim Miller and Chris Adams in MSU Entomology)