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Nonlinear functional response parameter estimation in a stochastic predator-prey model

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  • Parameter estimation for the functional response of predator-prey systems is a critical methodological problem in population ecology. In this paper we consider a stochastic predator-prey system with non-linear Ivlev functional response and propose a method for model parameter estimation based on time series of field data. We tackle the problem of parameter estimation using a Bayesian approach relying on a Markov Chain Monte Carlo algorithm. The efficiency of the method is tested on a set of simulated data. Then, the method is applied to a predator-prey system of importance for Integrated Pest Management and biological control, the pest mite Tetranychus urticae and the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis. The model is estimated on a dataset obtained from a field survey. Finally, the estimated model is used to forecast predator-prey dynamics in similar fields, with slightly different initial conditions.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: Primary: 62F15, 92D25, 65C05; Secondary: 65C30.

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