Kinetic FRG Young Researchers Workshop
March 2-5, 2009

CSIC Building (#406), Seminar Room 4122.

An Interacting Particle Model For Animal Migration

Dr. Alethea Barbaro

University of California, Los Angeles

Abstract:  The question of how and why animals migrate has been an important question in biology for many years.  We use an interacting particle model to explore this question in the case of a pelagic species of fish called the capelin.  We will describe our model for the spawning migration of the capelin around Iceland, and scaling laws associated with models of this type. Shifting migration routes of this stock have been challenging for researchers in Iceland, who must be able to locate the stock in order to make accurate stock assessments and develop reasonable fishing quotas to prevent a stock collapse. This past February, our model accurately predicted an unusual path for 2008's yearly migration. The same parameters were used to successfully reproduce the migration routes from two previous years. We will describe our model, including how environmental data is incorporated, and show simulation results alongside data collected by the Marine Research Institute of Iceland.  The question of how the parameters in this type of model should scale with the number of particles will also be explored.  The derivation of scaling laws and the implications of these scaling laws will be discussed.

The results have been done in collaboration with Björn Birnir, Baldvin Einarsson, and the Marine Research Institute of Iceland