Noah Cowan, Johns Hopkins University, engineer and organismal biologist
Kendra Greenlee, North Dakota State University, organismal biologist
Kristi Montooth, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, organismal biologist
Greenlee, Montooth & Helm (2014) made the case that the development of insect respiratory structures and the underlying metabolism is an excellent system to investigate how organisms walk the tightrope between stability and change. Regulatory feedback is certainly working to maintain stability and elicit change in this system. The challenge, however, is that the timescale of this feedback is much slower relative to the nearly instantaneous feedback control that Dr. Cowan has been quantitatively and predictively modeling using control theory (Cowan et al. 2014).
Drs. Cowan, Greenlee and Montooth propose a workshop to envision what data would need to be collected to use the control theory framework to build predictive models of how the processes underlying the ontogeny of metabolic rate are regulated in response to the environment to maintain respiratory performance during insect development.