Title

A Graph Theoretic Approach to Detecting Keystone Predators

Presenter Information

Emily HoardFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Chemistry, Mathematics

Minor

Biology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Elizabeth Donovan; Dr. Howard Whiteman

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

We explore the interface of mathematics and biology as it relates to the graph theoretic analysis of food webs. Using gut content data collected from Ambystoma mavortium nebulosum, the Arizona tiger salamander, from three different ponds in the Mexican Cut Nature Preserve, Gunnison County, Colorado, we construct food webs with different A. mavortium size classes represented individually and use techniques from graph theory to analyze the structural components of food webs that determine a species’ role as a keystone predator. We will consider the ability of measures of centrality and connectance to detect keystone predators, as well as how altering the topology of a food web to reflect size structure may alter these parameters. Through this process, we hope to further elucidate the impacts of size class in a species’ role as a keystone, as well as refine a definition of keystone predators dependent on the structure of that species’ food web.

Spring Scholars Week 2019 Event

Honors College Senior Thesis

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A Graph Theoretic Approach to Detecting Keystone Predators

We explore the interface of mathematics and biology as it relates to the graph theoretic analysis of food webs. Using gut content data collected from Ambystoma mavortium nebulosum, the Arizona tiger salamander, from three different ponds in the Mexican Cut Nature Preserve, Gunnison County, Colorado, we construct food webs with different A. mavortium size classes represented individually and use techniques from graph theory to analyze the structural components of food webs that determine a species’ role as a keystone predator. We will consider the ability of measures of centrality and connectance to detect keystone predators, as well as how altering the topology of a food web to reflect size structure may alter these parameters. Through this process, we hope to further elucidate the impacts of size class in a species’ role as a keystone, as well as refine a definition of keystone predators dependent on the structure of that species’ food web.