Michael J Plank

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Mathematical modelling of the movement of animals, micro-organisms and cells is of great relevance in the fields of biology, ecology and medicine. Movement models can take many different forms, but the most widely used are based on the extensions of simple random walk processes. In this review paper, our aim is twofold: to introduce the mathematics behind(More)
Mast-seeding plants often produce high seed crops the year after a warm spring or summer, but the warm-temperature model has inconsistent predictive ability. Here, we show for 26 long-term data sets from five plant families that the temperature difference between the two previous summers (ΔT) better predicts seed crops. This discovery explains how masting(More)
In order to progress from the relatively harmless avascular state to the potentially lethal vascular state, solid tumours must induce the growth of new blood vessels from existing ones, a process called angiogenesis. The capillary growth centres around endothelial cells: there are several cell-based models of this process in the literature and these have(More)
Angiogenesis--the growth of new blood vessels from existing ones--is a prerequisite for the growth of solid tumours beyond a diameter of approximately 2 mm. In recent years, the angiopoietins have emerged as important regulators of angiogenesis. They mediate a delicate balance between vascular quiescence, regression and new growth, but their mechanism of(More)
Many different species have been suggested to forage according to a Lévy walk in which the distribution of step lengths is heavy-tailed. Theoretical research has shown that a Lévy exponent of approximately 2 can provide a higher foraging efficiency than other exponents. In this paper, a composite search model is presented for non-destructive foraging(More)
The hypothesis that the optimal search strategy is a Lévy walk (LW) or Lévy flight, originally suggested in 1995, has generated an explosion of interest and controversy. Long-standing empirical evidence supporting the LW hypothesis has been overturned, while new models and data are constantly being published. Statistical methods have been criticized and new(More)
It is well known that atherosclerosis occurs at very specific locations throughout the human vasculature, such as arterial bifurcations and bends, all of which are subjected to low wall shear stress. A key player in the pathology of atherosclerosis is the endothelium, controlling the passage of material to and from the artery wall. Endothelial dysfunction(More)
In aquatic ecosystems, where organisms typically feed and grow by eating smaller individuals, a characteristic size spectrum emerges, such that large organisms are much more rare than small ones. Here, a stochastic individual-based model for the dynamics of size spectra is described, based on birth, growth, and death of individuals, using simple assumptions(More)
This paper investigates the stability of the power-law steady state often observed in marine ecosystems. Three dynamical systems are considered, describing the abundance of organisms as a function of body mass and time: a "jump-growth" equation, a first order approximation which is the widely used McKendrick-von Foerster equation, and a second order(More)
Complex networks of interactions are ubiquitous and are particularly important in ecological communities, in which large numbers of species exhibit negative (for example, competition or predation) and positive (for example, mutualism) interactions with one another. Nestedness in mutualistic ecological networks is the tendency for ecological specialists to(More)