Compartmental Models

Compartment models are mathematical models and are commonly used to represent many different ecological systems. In age-structured compartment models, each age class is represented by a compartment or state variable. State variables are connected to the ages that precede and succeed it in time. Further, each age class can have separate mortality and natality rates. These models typically consist of systems of equations with an equation for each compartment. Individuals move through compartments by aging or are removed from the population by dying. These models are often used to determine the effects of different assumptions about the age, size, or spatial structure of a population on the dynamics of the population. Modeling approaches include using differential equations, or difference equations. The type of mathematics used in the model depends on the questions asked by the researcher. Compartments may represent different parts of an ecosystem, stages of the development of an organism, or subdivisions of a population.

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