Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications

Product ID: Biomath
High School

Food Webs : Community Feeding Relationships (Student)

Author: Published by COMAP, Inc. in conjunction with DIMACS, Rutgers University.

What is the BioMath Connection (BMC) Project?

BMC was a pioneering project linking biology and mathematics in the high schools. It provided an opportunity for high school teachers, writers, researchers, and others to get in on the ground floor of developing innovative classroom materials. The materials consist of 20 modules that can be flexibly adapted for use in a variety of courses at a variety of grade levels in both biology and mathematics. The project was run by DIMACS at Rutgers University in collaboration with the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications (COMAP) and Colorado State University (CSU).

Food webs are abstract representations of feeding relationships in communities and use a series of arrows from one species to another where the first is a source of food for the second. Discrete mathematics provides a model for a food web using a directed graph (digraph) whose vertices are the species and an arc goes from a to b if a is food for b. Digraphs representing food webs make understanding predator prey relationships easier and various properties of digraphs provide insight into properties of the food web and the species contained within. Overarching questions in this module include, "What effect would the removal of a species have on the associated food web?" and "Why are there so few top predators?"

Food webs, predator/prey dynamics, energy transfer.
Mathematics: Discrete mathematics, graph theory, mathematical modeling.

Basic understanding of species requirements for survival.
Mathematics: Basic understanding of algebra and flow charts.

This unit consists of 5 lessons and will take 4-6 class periods (45-minutes each) if the majority of work is done during class.

©2015 by COMAP, Inc.
BioMath Student Edition
41 pages

Mathematics Topics:

  • Various

Application Areas:

  • Biology



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Related Resources

Food Webs : Community Feeding Relationships (Teacher)

What is the BioMath Connection (BMC) Project? BMC was a pioneering project linking biology and mathematics in the hig...


COMAP develops curriculum resources, professional development programs, and contest opportunities that are multidisciplinary, academically rigorous, and fun for educators and students. COMAP's educational philosophy is centered around mathematical modeling: using mathematical tools to explore real-world problems.

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