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CATEGORIES:Applied Mathematics Seminar Series
SUMMARY:Microbiologyâ€™s N-body Problem: Interspecies Metabo
lite Transfer in Spatially-Structured Populations
- Rob Clegg (University of Birmingham)
DTSTART:20141002T150000Z
DTEND:20141002T160000Z
UID:TALK1529AT
URL:/talk/index/1529
DESCRIPTION:No microbe is an island: exchange of metabolites b
etween microbes is crucial to nutrient cycles in b
oth natural and man-made environments. However\, e
ven when it is experimentally possible\, directly
measuring or modelling the rate of exchange within
observed populations is difficult. In a sense\, t
his is comparable to the N-body problem of planeta
ry motion\, where predicting the long- term effect
s of gravitational pull between heavenly bodies be
comes increasingly difficult the more numerous the
y are. \n\nAs metabolites are often transported by
diffusion\, reducing the physical distance betwee
n partners can greatly increase the rate of exchan
ge and so also increase the productivity of the po
pulation. For example\, degradation of organic mat
ter to methane in lake sediments and sewage treatm
ent plants often requires rapid transfer of acetat
e or hydrogen from producers to consumers. Ecologi
sts and engineers interested in this problem have
estimated the rate of metabolite exchange between
groups using the average distance between a cell o
f one type and its nearest neighbour of the other.
This statistic is a valid estimator in the detect
ion and classification of spatial patterns\, but i
ts reliability in estimation of exchange rate is u
ntested. \n\nThe uncertainty in estimating rate of
exchange is an issue affecting many topics in mic
robial ecology and biochemical engineering\, and o
ur computational approach seeks to correct this. T
he rate of exchange is both solved numerically\, a
nd estimated using spatial statistics such as the
distance to nearest neighbour. These estimates can
then be compared to the numerical solution. The o
verall aim of this project is to determine the mos
t reliable statistical estimator in a scientifical
ly rigorous manner\, so that those studying these
systems in the field can make predictions in confi
dence. \n
LOCATION:Muirhead 118
CONTACT:Alexandra Tzella
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