[PAST EVENT] Mathematics Colloquium: Jude Kong (DIMACS/Princeton University)
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Mathematics Colloquium: Jude Kong (DIMACS/Princeton University)
Title: Modeling Microbial Dynamics: Effects on Environmental Health
Abstract: In this talk, I will present two nonlinear models for microbial dynamics vis-a-vis environmental health. Firstly, I will present a stoichiometric organic matter decomposition model in a chemostat culture that incorporates the dynamics of grazers. This mechanistic biodegradation model leads to reliable and suggestive ecological insights in the preservation and restoration of our fragile ecosystems. Using the model, I answer the following research questions: (i) What mechanisms allow microbes and resources to persist uniformly or go extinct? (ii) How do grazing and dead microbial residues affect decomposition? Secondly, I will talk about a stoichiometric mathematical model to predict methane emissions from oil sands tailings. Microbial metabolism of fugitive hydrocarbons produces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from oil sands tailings ponds and end pit lakes that retain semisolid wastes from surface mining of oil sands ores. Predicting GHG production, particularly methane, would help oil sands operators mitigate tailings emissions and would assist regulators evaluating the trajectory of reclamation scenarios.