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Territorial pattern formation through scent marking

Presented by: 
MA Lewis [Utah]
Tuesday 11th December 2001 - 11:30 to 12:30
INI Seminar Room 1
Session Title: 
Immunology, Ecology and Epidemiology (main themes)
Social carnivores, such as wolves and coyotes, have distinct and well-defined home ranges. During the formation of these home ranges scent marks provide important cues regarding the use of space by familiar and foreign packs. In this talk I will propose a mechanism for territorial pattern formation through interactions with familiar scent marks. Rules for the behavior of individuals are translated to a partial differential equation (PDE) model. Analysis of this PDE model, through use application an `energy method', shows the formation of distinct territories with abrupt edges. Connections will be made to earlier ecological models for aggregating populations (eg. Turchin 1989, Journal of Animal Ecology (58): 75-100).

The mechanism proposed here differs from previous models for territorial pattern formation which have required a den site as the organizational center around which the territory is formed. Thus the model explains field observations of well-defined home ranges in the absence of den sites, and even in the absence of surrounding packs.

University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons