ITME University of Miami University of Miami

About ITME

The Institute for Theoretical and Mathematical Ecology (ITME) represents the combined efforts of a group of faculty from two schools: the College of Arts and Sciences (Departments of Mathematics, Biology, and Computer Science) and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

The Institute will operate under the joint auspices of the two schools, but welcomes, encourages, and solicits participation by faculty from other units of the University. Ecology is one of a number of areas of scientific inquiry that are being profoundly influenced by advances in quantitative knowledge, both analytic and computational. Indeed, mathematical biology at large is now recognized by the National Science Foundation as a separate program within the Division of Mathematical Sciences of the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

A joint initiative with the National Institutes of Health for Research in Mathematical Biology is the Division's largest current fiscal commitment. Ecology draws on a range of scientific disciplines, representing the essential duality of its aims and methods. In part, it has a goal of understanding population dynamics and community structure for various assemblages of organisms across a range of temporal, spatial and organizational scales which makes complete reliance on controlled laboratory experiments impossible and necessitates the use of quantitative models.

It also aims to provide predictions about quantitative outcomes in various particular situations, so as both to inform human knowledge and inquiry and to address the balance between maintaining biodiversity and advancing human development in a manner that is sustainable. Frequently such inquiries may concern the very survival of some species. As a result, Ecology cannot depend solely on empirical studies, but must represent an interplay between field work and data collection and analytic and computational modeling. It is promoting this interplay that is the raison d'etre for the Institute. This proposal has emerged organically from the joint research and academic efforts of the primary faculty over the past ten to fifteen years.

Giving these efforts a formal structure from which to operate and synergize is an idea whose time has come. Indeed, it is a cross disciplinary effort in a national and international growth area that is eminently fundable from a variety of sources.

Institute for Theoretical and Mathematical Ecology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124