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Elements of Mathematical Ecology

Elements of Mathematical Ecology
Mark Kot
Cambridge University Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 453 p., $110

The application of mathematics to biology and ecology has come a long way since Alfred J. Lotka's ground-breaking work 75 years ago. Like many interested in the topic, I grew up reading the Dover reprint edition of Elements of Mathematical Biology, wondering how mathematics will influence the natural sciences. Mark Kot's work provides a sample of the long-term influence of Lotka and others who have used mathematics in creative ways to reshape ecological research.

The book is organized into two large parts, entitled "Unstructured Population Models" and, logically, "Structured Population Models." Each section includes in turn three chapters dedicated to the topic at hand. The author addresses birth and death processes, predator-prey models, the Lotka integral equation and other essentials in a way that almost anyone, with the basic mathematical tools in hand, can understand. Professor Kot sprinkles throughout the text problems to solve, historical explanations, mathematical "meanderings" and recommended readings, all of which enliven the text and illustrations.

I highly recommend Elements of Mathematical Ecology as a textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, or as a starting point for a researcher interested in a fascinating topic.

— Edward J. Valauskas, Curator of Rare Books, Chicago Botanic Garden