Mathematical Modelling Tools for Red Squirrel Conservation

Prof. Andy White (Heriot-Watt University )

Thursday 3rd December, 2015 14:00-15:00 Maths 203


Since its introduction into the UK, c1900, the grey squirrel 
has replaced the native red squirrel throughout most of England and 
Wales, and in parts of Scotland and Ireland. There is strong evidence 
that grey squirrels are superior competitors in many habitats and also 
that a shared virus, squirrelpox, plays a critical role in red squirrel 
decline. ODE and PDE frameworks, parameterised to represent the 
red/grey/squirrelpox system, will be examined to understand the impact 
of squirrelpox on red and grey squirrel population dynamics and the 
spread of squirrelpox following grey invasion. Squirrelpox is endemic in 
grey populations in England and Wales but has only recently been 
reported in Southern Scotland. A spatial, individual based version of 
the model will be outlined and used to assess the spread of squirrelpox 
through squirrel populations in Southern Scotland. These findings are 
being used to inform current red squirrel conservation policy.

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