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The History of Theoretical Population Ecology: Which Role for Mathematical Modeling?

  • Luciano Andreozzi

Overview

The use of mathematics in biology has always been controversial. At variance with economics, which became a formalized discipline quite early in its development, biologists had always been suspicious about the use of formal models in their field. During the now long history of bio-mathematics, supporters of this approach have devised quite a large number of arguments to persuade skeptics that the marriage between mathematics and biology was a good deal for both disciplines. Beside the obvious reason that formal models lead, hopefully, to quantitative predictions that are easier to falsify, mathematical’ models have been frequently defended because of their (alleged) heuristic value. According to this view, mathematical models’ most important contribution to biology consists in their ability to highlight some phenomena, or some relationships among phenomena, that could not be understood without formalization, A very clear defense of this point of view is to be found in one of the early classics of mathematical population ecology, Vito Volterra’s “Variazioni e fluttuazioni del numero d’individui in specie animali conviventi”, first published in 1926.

Keywords

Competitive Exclusion Population Ecology Ordinary Language Theoretical Ecology Snowshoe Hare 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luciano Andreozzi
    • 1
  1. 1.Università degli Studi di BariBariItalia

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