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Tribble Population Modeling

APPM 2360

We are scientists concerned about the hunting of Tribbles on a distant space station by Klingons. We will use our knowledge of population models, which, in this instance, involves a growth rate for Tribbles, a varying death rate that factors a carrying capacity, and the rate that the Tribbles are hunted. To do this we will need to find and interpret equilibrium points, determine correct initial values to establish a realistic model of the population, and interpret the pieces of our differential equation to see if it makes sense as a whole. Based on our interpretations we can determine which species of Tribbles may be endangered.

1. a and b are parameters where:

y(t) is the population of Tribbles in hundreds. H(t) is the hunting function where p and q are the hunting abilities of the Klingons and:

2. As y gets very small the hunting function H(t) trends to zero because if there are no Tribbles to hunt there will be no hunting. As y gets very large the hunting function goes to p which represents them hunting at their maximum ability. 3. For the differential equation to come out to hundreds of Tribbles per day the constants of a and b would have to be 1/days and 1/days^2 because ay would come out to hundreds of Tribbles per day and by^2 would come out to hundreds of Tribbles per day. This makes our units consistent and what we expect. 4. Using separation of variables: a. When ( )

( b. When ( )

, this can still be solved using SOV. ( )

5. a. The equilibrium solution is when there is no growth or decline in the Tribble population. b. The equivalent mathematical expression is when the growth rate is equal to zero, or:

This expression can be used to find the equilibrium points on the plot because it represents where the slope is equal to zero. 6. Each plot has equilibriums at the point where the graph levels off. Graphically we solved this to find that they each have equilibriums at 0 except for b=.1. Then each has another equilibrium specific to the b-value. At b = .01 the equilibrium is approximately 63(6300 Tribbles). At b=.05 the equilibrium rises to approximately 11(1100 Tribbles). And at b=.1 the equilibrium falls to approximately .95(95 Tribbles).

7. The bifurcation of b in the function is at b =0.058 to b=0.059. This is the point when the solutions change from a positive slope to a negative slope to reach the equilibrium. This is also the point when there are two equilibrium points when b is less than 0.058, but when it gets above that value the number of equilibrium points change to only one.


9 a. The equilibrium for each b-value varies and has multiple equilibrium except for b=.1. This was seen in the graphs on number 6. The b-value of 0.01 has equilibrium at 6300 Tribbles and 0 Tribbles, and is stable at 6300 while 0 is unstable. At b=0.05, the solutions have much of the same characteristics where the two equilibrium are at 1100 Tribbles and 0 Tribbles, and 1100 is stable and 0 is unstable. For b=0.1 there is one equilibrium point and it is stable around 95 Tribbles.

B-value Equilibrium 0.01 6300 0.01 0 0.05 1100 0.05 0 0.1 95

Stability Stable Unstable Stable Unstable Stable

b. The points of basin for each b value are where the equilibrium converge, so for b=0.01 the basin of attraction is at 6300, for b=0.05 the basin of attraction is at 1100, and for b=0.1 the basin of attraction is at 95. c. All solutions for each b-value will converge onto each stable point of each b-value. This means that no matter the initial population of the Tribbles, the final population will always end on the stable population for that b-value. After a long period the population will stay at that stable equilibrium which means that the population will not change with time.


The greatest population to stock on the ship would be the brown Tribbles with the b-value of .01. This Tribble population has an equilibrium at 6300 which is the highest of all the species. Also the Tribbles always repopulate to 6300 giving the Klingons the most hunting without killing off the population.

11 a.

Seasonal Tribble Population b = .05 14 13.5

Tribble Population (hundreds)

13 12.5 12 11.5 11 10.5 10



300 400 Time (days)





The long term behavior of the solutions rise to the previous equilibrium then starts to oscillate. This is because of seasonal hunting which causes the population to rise when there is no hunting during winter. During summer the population falls because of full hunting. This creates the oscillating motion and this means that there are no more equilibrium solutions. The graphs will oscillate near the old equilibrium, but no longer an equilibrium value. Also we cannot solve this solution because the oscillation motion makes it impossible to solve for a solution.


This is a great model that simulates the population of the Tribbles with the effect of hunting, but this is just a model. This takes many assumptions into consideration when plotting the model of what the Tribbles will do. The model considers the population to always perfectly grow by our equation and that the Tribbles will work perfectly with the environment they are placed. Also we have to assume that the Klingons will always perfectly hunt what the model shows which would not always be the case. This model shows us a good representation of the model, but still has many flaws.

After examining the given model we were able to successfully able to determine which species of Tribbles are at risk with the Klingons hunting them. We found that the Brown species will survive just fine and the white species is not too far behind, but unfortunately the grey Tribbles will suffer greatly with the hunting rates, as they stabilize around only 95 total Tribbles. We also observed a scenario where hunting is seasonal, and we saw that when hunting was at a minimum the Tribbles would continue to grow above their stabilized value with the hunting. When the hunting returned to its maximum the population returned back down to the stabilized value.