Marc Mangel


I am Distinguished Professor of Mathematical Biology Emeritus in the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of California Santa Cruz, Professor of Biology Emeritus in the Theoretical Ecology Group (Visit the TEG) at the University of Bergen, Norway and Affiliate Research Professor at the University of Washington, Tacoma. In my first job out of graduate school, I worked for the Operations Evaluation Group (OEG) of the Center for Naval Analyses doing operations research for the Navy. I moved to UC Davis in 1980 with the intention of doing OEG-style work, but with applications to fisheries and agriculture, and to UC Santa Cruz in 1996. I retired from formal teaching and administrative work in 2013 but continue an active research program. I am broadly interested in using mathematical methods to solve problems that arise in biology (especially ecology, evolution, and behavior) and work in what Donald Stokes called, in a wonderful book of the same name, Pasteur's Quadrant of use-inspired basic research, where a search for fundamental understanding is motivated by an important applied problem

Current Research Projects

Unifying Modeling Approaches for Better Understanding and Characterizing the Effects of Sound on Marine Mammals: Supported by the office of Naval Research, I am workng to find ways to unify Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) models and Stochastic Dynamic Programming (SDP) models in order to better predict the consquences of acoustic disturbance on marine mammals. Population Biology and Cybersecurity : Since July 2018, I have been working with colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory with the intention of using models from population biology to inform various aspects of cyber-security. Since June 2020, like many of my colleagues, I have also been helping colleagues at APL think about testing for covid-19, both at APL and in Howard County, MD (where APL is located) more generally.

The Role of Mesopelagic Fishes in Northeast Atlantic Marine Ecosystems . I am part of a project at the University of Bergen with Christian Jorgensen, Tom Langbehn, and Gabriella Ljungstrom on mesopelagic species in the Norwegian Sea. We have three objectives: i) to investigate the role of predation from mesopelagic fishes in driving latitudinal life history variation among copepods; ii) to identify the drivers of the unique migratory life history of Norwegian spring-spawning herring; and iii) to predict changes in the Norwegian Sea ecosystem as a response to climate warming.

How can fisheries contribute more to a sustainable future? I am also part of another project in Bergen, lead by Katja Enberg concerning the contribution of fisheries to a sustainable world. The ocean contributes with only 2% of human food and 6% of dietary protein, despite harbouring half the global primary production. The relatively low contribution has been used to justify that food should mainly be produced on land, while sea food production should be reduced and the ocean protected. This project takes a step back and considers seafood as part of the global food system. Together with key stakeholders, the aim is to reimagine the role of fisheries based on the principles of sustainability rather than on current practices and beliefs. How would fisheries look like if the United Nationsw 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the Convention on Biological Diversity were to define the objective of fisheries as maximizing global food production while minimizing ecological and climate footprint? The project home page) gives more details on the scientists and partners involved and the research planned.

Mathematical Modelling of Biological Control Interaction to Support Agriculture and Conservation I am part of a research group) organized by Tamar Keasar, Michal Segoli, and Eric Wajnberg and supported by the Israel Institute of Advanced Studies. Our study group spans the continuum between theoretical approaches (behavioral, population and community ecology) and application (biological control). We will meet formally in Jerusalem in the first half of 2022, but we are already working together remotely. Our main aim is to bridge the existing gaps between the well-developed theory of interactions between insects and their natural enemies, and the optimization of the efficacy of biological control projects in agriculture and conservation. I am particularly thrilled to be involved with this group of scientists that includes two of my students (George Heimpel and Asaf Sadeh), one of my post-docs (Tamar Keasar), and my long-time collaborator Bernie Roitberg.

My Approach to Mathematical Biology

I use mathematical models, experiments, and field observations to understand organisms and how interact with each other and the rest of the environment. I have worked on a variety of systems, including insect parasitoids, tephritid fruit flies, marine mammals, southern ocean krill, steelhead trout, Pacific rockfish, and planaria. You can find out more details about what I have done by looking at my publications page.