We noted earlier the use of software compression algorithms as tools for discovering new ways for vaccines to spot and attack HIV. Now comes another example of biologists looking at software as a way of understanding nature. Canadian researchers have applied models for the propagation of computer viruses across the Internet to the spread of the spiny water flea in Canadian lakes, an invasive species. The network model provided new insights into both how the flea moves from lake to lake and how it could be controlled. The full text of the article, from the current issue of the Journal of Applied Ecology, is available online. Fair warning -- the article is about the spiny water flea, not about the model used.
While have great affection for biomimicry, the use of natural models for designed products and systems, this use of designed products and systems as models for understanding nature -- technomimicry? -- is also worth watching.
(Via Biology News)