A biologist and a statistician walk into a bar…
Mathematics Professor Olcay Akman’s research interests recently took him to the Florida Everglades, where he used his data analysis and modeling knowledge for cross-disciplinary research.
Several undergraduate and graduate students had a chance to get involved in a real-life problem with his National Science Foundation-funded project (Physiology and Fitness Consequences of Different Life History Phenotypes). The project centered on gathering migratory and evolutionary information about Lubber Grasshoppers in the southeastern United States. These grasshoppers annually cause extensive damage to citrus and vegetable crops. Having a better understanding of the migration and evolutionary patterns of the grasshoppers can hopefully lead to a better ways of protecting valuable crops.
Akman is editor in chief of the international journal Letters in Biomathematics, which publishes articles from the cross-disciplinary research at the interface of biology and mathematics.
Akman is also the main organizer of an annual international conference on biomathematics, called Symposium on Biomathematics and Ecology: Education and Research (BEER). This conference has given an excellent platform to both students and faculty from mathematics or biology to disseminate their research and education-related work. The conference also features a traditional soccer match between biologists and mathematicians.