Vivek Thampi | Applied Math, University of Waterloo
Utilizing A Coupled-Human Environment System To Model The Loss of Resilience in the Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystem
The Caribbean coral reef ecosystem has had a long history of deterioration. Historical documentation has revealed that this ecosystem was once much more capable of steering itself onto a trajectory towards recovery after exposure to various ecological and anthropogenic stressors due to the presence of primary reefs grazers - the Diadema Antillarum sea urchins, until their mass mortality in 1983. Since their decimation, the ecosystem has become heavily reliant on its secondary grazers - parrotfish - in order to maintain the integrity of the coral reefs. Unfortunately, numerous setbacks, such as parrotfish exploitation and sedimentation, have dramatically perturbed the ecosystem into a state governed by invasive macroalgal growth. As such, mathematical modelling has been employed in order to determine strategies to promote conservation and regrowth of this ecosystem. In this comprehensive seminar, the motivation of utilizing a coupled human-environment system to model the dynamics of the coral reef ecosystem is presented. Utilizing elements of game theory, the basic model will be revealed. Finally, future goals and extensions, and preliminary results of the current research will be outlined.