An example from the world of tsetse flies

Math Biosci Eng. 2013 Jun;10(3):691-704. doi: 10.3934/mbe.2013.10.691.


In biomathematics, communication between mathematicians and biologists is crucial. This matter is illustrated using studies aimed at estimating mortality rates of tsetse flies (Glossina spp.). Examples are provided of apparently sound pieces of mathematics which, when applied to real data, provide obviously erroneous results. More serious objections arise when mathematical models make no attempt to address the real world in such a way that they can be tested. Unless models account for the known biology of the problem under investigation, and are challenged with data, the existence and nature of imperfections in the models will likely not be detected.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Longevity
  • Male
  • Mathematical Concepts
  • Models, Biological
  • Ovulation
  • Population Dynamics
  • Reproduction
  • Systems Biology
  • Tsetse Flies / growth & development
  • Tsetse Flies / physiology*