The science of biology has been transforming dramatically and so the need
for a stronger mathematical background for biology students has increased.
Biological students reaching the senior or post-graduate level often come to
realize that their mathematical background is insufficient. Similarly students
in a mathematics programme, interested in biological phenomena find it
difficult to master the complex systems encountered in biology. In short, the
biologists do not have enough mathematics and the mathematicians are not
being taught enough biology.
The need for interdisciplinary curricula that includes disciplines such as
biology, physical science, information technology, and mathematics is
widely recognized, but has not been widely implemented. In this paper it is
suggested that mathematical biology students develop a skill set of biology
(ecology), mathematics, modeling and technology to encourage working
across disciplinary boundaries. To illustrate such a skill set a predator-prey
model that contains self-limiting factors for both predator and prey, is
suggested. The general idea of dynamics, as described by differential
equations is introduced and students are encouraged to discover the
applicability of this approach to the dynamics of more complex biological
systems. The level of mathematics and technology required is not advanced;
therefore it is ideal for inclusion in a senior-level or introductory graduate level
course for students interested in mathematical biology in which three
important disciplines - biology, mathematics and technology - come
together to develop a skill set for prospective researchers.