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2020 Projects

Mathematical Modeling of Tree Line Dynamics

Makayla McDevitt ’21
Major: Mathematics

Makayla McDevitt ’21

Major: Mathematics

Faculty Collaborator: David Brown, Mathematics & Computer Science

The purpose of this ongoing research is to improve an existing mathematical model of tree line dynamics. The first portion of this five week project involved reading scientific articles focused on previous tree line studies. This literature provided background material necessary for understanding the current tree line model coded in the technical computing system Mathematica, as well as information regarding parameter values crucial for the model’s improvement. For example, the scientific articles displayed the effects of temperature on tree line growth, death, cone production, and seedling establishment, the four variables of interest within our project. After reviewing the relevant literature, the second 2.5 weeks of research required updating the model’s Mathematica code based on the new information acquired from the scientific articles. After implementing these changes, the remainder of the summer project involved running different scenarios of the model in Mathematica in order to ensure proper functioning of the updated code.

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