417 pages, Figs
The last several years has witnessed a revolution in the connections between mathematics and biology, and this book differs from most others on the topic in that it covers both deterministic and probabilistic models. The first chapter is a long introduction and review of ideas about biological modeling, calculus, differential equations, dimensionless variables, and descriptive statistics. The next three chapters examine standard discrete and continuous models using difference and differential equations, and matrix algebra (there is a long appendix in Chapter 3 on matrices). The final three chapters cover probability, statistics, and stochastic processes, including bootstrap methods and stochastic differential equations. The book focuses mostly in one area of the life sciences, namely, theoretical ecology.
Ecology has become extremely quantitative, and the mathematical techniques used in ecology are applicable to most other areas in the life sciences. Ecology provides an especially accessible context for study by mathematics majors. Moreover, the authors chose ecology for the book's motivations and examples in light of their own interests and research in the area. Additional topical coverage includes an introduction to ecological modeling, population dynamics for single species, structure and interacting populations, interactions in continuous time, concepts of probability, statistical inference, and stochastic processes.
Admirably, the volume is written with bits of MATLAB code inserted at appropriate places and has exercises interspersed throughout the text (as well as hints for solutions to the exercises at the end of the book). The Quarterly Review of Biology, June 2010) "The mathematical and reasoning sophistication increases as the chapters proceed." (Book News, December 2009)
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