New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

Plants vs. Butterflies

Team: 129

School: Rio Rancho Cyber Academy

Area of Science: Plant Pathology


Interim: Interim Report
Team Number: 129
School Name: Rio Rancho Cyber Academy
Area of Science: Plant Pathology
Project Title: Plants v. Butterflies
Problem: In our experiment we will be examining the spread of disease in a flower population and how it effects the butterfly population in the area. We will be using the environment of the Cabbage butterfly and a cabbage patch. The plant disease we will be simulating through the model is called downy mildew. Downy mildew is a pathogen that spreads through spore transportation which can happen during the wet seasons or contaminated fluid contact with a clean plant. We will examine the spread of the mildew through the population and how it effects the butterfly population.
In our experiment we will be examining the spread of disease in a flower population and how it effects the butterfly population in the area. We will do this by using the Netlogo program to simulate the butterfly’s environment with variables butterflies, flowers (food) and a disease that spreads through the flower population. In this simulation the butterflies will be set in “randomwalk” in which they lose energy at a set amount. They will encounter the flowers randomly when butterflies encounter unpolluted flowers they will gain energy. When a butterfly encounters another butterfly it will reproduce 1 new butterfly which simulated the life cycle. The disease element who will also be set to a random spread rate through the flowers and viewed through a monitor, we are assuming that after a flower is infected it cannot recover from the disease, and the disease spreads at an exponential growth rate. When a butterfly encounters a diseased flower nothing happens because the flower has been rendered useless. We will measure how long it takes for the disease to hit its “tipping point” which will be when there are so many flowers infected that the other half of the uninfected population will be infected by the next increase.
Process to date:
The progress that has been made to solve our problem is that we have set up a netlogo computer program that contains an ecosystem of butterflies and a plant population carrying a disease. We have come up with a way to analyze the data. We are looking for visible patterns of butterfly population as disease spread percentage increases, we will then plot data on a graph to see if a liner relationships exists between the populations. We are expecting to see as the rate of disease increases the butterfly population will decrease faster.



References:
1.http://www.bugfacts.net/cabbage-butterfly.php ; about butterflies
2http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pieris_rapae ; about butterflies
3 http://mtvernon.wsu.edu/path_team/cabbage.htm ; cabbage disease
1. http://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/cabbage-and-cauliflower-brassica-sp-black-spot-leaf-stem-or-pod-spots ; cabbage disease and cabbage life cycles
2. http://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/BP/BP-68-W.pdf ; Downy Mildew


Team Members:

  Anna Shaw
  Gabriella Woolard

Sponsoring Teacher: harry henderson

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