Amanda Laubmeier, Texas Tech University
Authors: Luis Mata, Amanda Laubmeier, Fanqi Zeng, Marilia Bergamo, Stefani Crabtree
2022 AWM Research Symposium
Recent Advances in Mathematical Biology

Ecosystems are impacted in a multitude of ways by human behavior. However, human behavior is driven by individual decision-making, which is in turn shaped by complex interactions between people as they exchange ideas. The types of ideas people exchange are also informed by the existing impacts of human behavior. Because of this, changes in human behavior arise from a feedback between social decision-making and ecosystem effects. In this preliminary work, we aim to understand this feedback for a simple toy system in which human dietary choices impact a local aquatic foodweb. We model a simplified aquatic foodweb with interactions from single-celled basal organisms to large mammals, where feeding strengths are informed by allometric (size-based) constraints. Alongside this foodweb, we model a human social network with diffusion of a single idea, which determines human feeding strength on the two top consumers in the aquatic foodweb. This social network informs the foodweb model at discrete intervals, simulating a delay between human consensus-building and behavior change. We investigate how different criteria for human decisions will result in different ecosystem outcomes, with the eventual goal of applying these methods to social networks from the archaeological past.

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