Oct 17 - 20, 2013

Lecture Hall, Bld. 82 JiaYiBing,
Beijing International Center
for Mathematical Research,
Peking University, Beijing, China

Tel: (+86 10) 6274 4121
Fax: (+86 10) 6274 4134
Email: yumeng@math.pku.edu.cn

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Emerging biological problems are bringing many interesting and challenging opportunities for new mathematics. The last decade has witnessed substantial growth in the area of mathematical biology around the world. The number of universities with mathematical biology research programs is increasing at an unprecedented rate. Indeed, this is probably the beginning of a golden age of connections between the mathematical and biological sciences. The workshop proposed at Beijing International Center for Mathematical Research(BICMR) will focus on recent mathematical developments arising from and uniting the important fields of Ecology, Epidemiology and Environmental Science. It is expected to attract researchers from differential equations, dynamical systems and scientific computing to elucidate and advance the study of these mathematical problems from biology. Both mathematical analysis and scientific computation will be emphasized in the talks of this workshop.

As noted, this workshop will focus on cutting edge mathematical developments in PDE and related models arising from ecological, epidemiological and environmental concerns. Biological and environmental topics of interest include bio-diversity issues, directed movement of organisms in heterogeneous landscapes, nonlocal dispersal of species, free boundary problems from ecology, spatial spread of disease, environmental sustainability and global change. We highlight but two of these topics as examples:

  • Dispersal of organisms is a key component of ecological and evolutionary processes. Because of the dynamic effects of dispersal and the feedbacks between dispersal, population dynamics, and evolution, there has been an increasing recognition that understanding the ecology and evolution of dispersal is essential in understanding the response of populations and communities to habitat fragmentation, species introductions, climate change, and other aspects of globalization and global change. The importance of dispersal has generated much recent interest among ecologists and evolutionary biologists and has resulted in a large amount of papers and meetings devoted solely to the ecology and evolution of dispersal, including a special issue of Science (vol. 313, issue 5788, 2006) and many books and surveys. Incorporating spatial and temporal heterogeneity and dispersal into models for biological processes is leading to new mathematical biological models (such as quasilinear systems of partial differential equations and non-local hybrid models such as integro-differential systems) and consequently exciting new mathematical challenges. Mathematical advances here can significantly enhance our understanding of how diversity is maintained in complex foodwebs and how organisms can respond to global change.

  • Dispersal has been recognized as an equally important consideration in mathematical epidemiology, e.g., in the study of such important issues as the evolution and ecological effects of dispersal in spatial ecology, the impact of human movement on vector-borne diseases, the effect of global movement in communicable diseases, and accounting for spatial effects in environmental and disease management. Important mathematical considerations arising here include integration of quantitative information across multiple scales of organization and incorporating data into spatially explicit models.

This workshop will offer a great opportunity to promote further synthesis between mathematical ecology, mathematical epidemiology and environmental sciences and to influence future research directions. As such, it is a natural outgrowth of several previous events: (i) the 2005 Workshop on Spatial Ecology at the University of Miami; (ii) the Mathematical Biosciences Institute 2005-2006 Emphasis year on Evolution and Ecology (specifically Workshop 4: Spatial Ecology March 13-17, 2006); (iii) July 2011 Banff International Research Station workshop on Emerging Challenges at the Interface of Mathematics, Environmental Science and Spatial Ecology.

Robert Stephen Cantrell
University of Miami

Chris Cosner
University of Miami

Weinan E
Peking University and Princeton University

Yuan Lou
Ohio State University

Pingwen Zhang
Peking University