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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Of caterpillars and models Steinhoff, Richard Terrell


An approach to modeling in general, its background, and its implementation can be described by examining its application to a particular system. The Western Tent Caterpillar is a productive subject of study because there is extensive data available for determining the relationships within the system. Individual differences between caterpillars and the weather are the dominant factors involved. They are incorporated into a set of ordinary differential equations that express the rate of change in the caterpillar population over time. These equations are numerically integrated to calculate the population at some terminal time. The results over a six year period agree reasonably well with observed field data. The three dimensional plot of the population gives a visual appreciation for the distribution over time.

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