Dr Alex James

Dr Alex James
Room 624 Erskine Building
Phone: +64 3 364 2987 ext 8877

Research Interests

I am a scientist who uses mathematics and statistics to understand the world around me. Recently I have worked predominantly in ecology but my interests are wider ranging and I enjoy the fact that maths allows me the freedom to work across a range of disciplines. I enjoy working on the more theoretical things in life (e.g. Levy walks and complex ecological systems) but I also enjoy getting hands dirty with real data (e.g. masting and mouse plagues, translocation of West Coast snail populations and invasion of Hurunui farmland by foreign tussocks). Finally I have been know to dabble in maths education and ocassionally persuade my undergraduate students to provide me with data for this. My favourite recent publication managed to combine my PhD in combustion with ecology and bait the young earth creationists at the same time

For those who care about statistics my up to date list of publications is on Google scholar. I have been involved in nine successful research fund awards, seven as PI, eight external resulting in over $700,000 of external research funding. I have supervised 4 postdoctoral fellows, and 30 research students.

For those who care about the more important things in life when not doing maths I can often be found trying not to fall off a mountain bike or the side of a hill and I find that consuming cake gives me the energy needed to get me to the top of the same hills. I have been known to drag my students along on these trips under the guise of fieldwork.

Dr Michael Plank

Dr Michael Plank
Room 614 Erskine Building
Phone: +64 3 364 2987 ext 6699

Research Interests

I am an applied mathematician working in the area of biological modelling. My research spans a wide range of biological problems, from fish populations to invasive plant species to cell biology. This is the beauty of being a mathematicial biologist - similar mathematical methods can be used to understand a seemingly disparate variety of biological questions. One underlying theme in my research is the effect that stochasticity, i.e. random variations, can have on a biological system. Often this effect can be important and surprising. The real world can be highly unpredictable at a microscale, but mathematical models can help us understand the big picture that emerges from complex webs of interactions.

A full list of publications is available here.

My spare time usually sees me somewhere in the great outdoors, most often skiing in winter or whitewater kayaking in summer. When the H20-based pursuits dry up, I like to ride my mountain bike too.

  • MARG
    School of Mathematics and Statistics
    University of Canterbury
    Private Bag 4800, Christchurch
    New Zealand
  • Alex James
    Phone +64 3 364 2987 ext 8877
    Fax: +64 3 364 2587
  • Mike Plank
    Phone +64 3 364 2699
    Fax: +64 3 364 2587
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