## Brief Summary of Summer Work

This summer my partner and I looked closely at one model of zooplankton population.  Using this model we found that the mortality was one of the most sensitive parameters which implied that it is one of the most sensitive parameters in other zooplankton population models.  This supported the claim that the mortality term need more research and refinement.  Some of the work we did was included in a proposal for a NSF grant to continue research on zooplankton modeling.  We also looked at different types of mortality terms that include predation and competition to limit the growth the population, but more work is need to find which is best, if any.

## The Hard Work is Paying Off

I made cupcakes again.  I call them Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting.  And they were delicious!  Don’t worry, I’ve attached the recipe: Brownie Cupcakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

## QBL Goes to Busch Gardens

A few of us from the Quantitative Biology Lab (QBL) finally went to Busch Gardens last week on July 4th, because we had the day off from lab.  We rode all the major roller coaster, including the new one Verbolten, and did our very best not overheat.  The day resulted in some nice lab bonding, and a discussion of returning later this summer.  I concluded my day off by watching the fireworks and eating ice cream in Colonial Williamsburg with some other friends.

## Determining Dynamics

What have I been up to since my last post?

Well…a lot more math.  We finished calculating the sensitivities of the model with respect to each parameter: development, mortality, and birth.  These terms are dependent on temperature so then we calculated the sensitivity with respect to temperature.  Sensitivity tells you how the eigenvalues of the model change as the parameters change.  The eigenvalues are indicators of the behavior of the model.  Basically we were using the techniques we learned with the smaller models from last time to understand the dynamics of the zooplankton model. We also looked at how the parameters change over time, so that we can make connections between the sensitivities and the model’s dynamics.

## Linear Algebra and Cupcakes

I’ve been here in Williamsburg for almost two weeks. I arrived last Tuesday. There was no easing into the research experience. We jumped right into learning techniques from linear algebra and differential equations that would help us explore and better understand the model we’ve been working with. I worked on this project during the last semester (meeting only twice a week rather than every day), but the amount of progress we have made and math I been exposed to just in these two weeks has already surpassed what we accomplished.