Synchrony & chaos in patchy ecosystems

R M Hillary, M A Bees

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The apparent synchronisation of spatially discrete populations is a well documented phenomenon. However, it is not clear what the governing mechanisms are for this synchrony, and whether they are robust over a range of environmental conditions and patch specific population dynamic behaviours. In this paper, we explore two (possibly interacting) modes of coupling, and investigate their theoretically discernible, and perhaps even experimentally measurable, signatures. To aid us in this investigation we employ a planktonic example system, with direct application to plankton patchiness. Furthermore, we address the role of chaos in complex spatiotemporal dynamics; we find that chaos associated with funnel attractors can play a distinguished role, over dynamics less sensitive to small variations, in being more susceptible to generalised synchronisation (such as phase synchronisation) in the presence of small local parameter variation. This is in contrast to the case for coupled systems with identical dynamics, and suggests that non-identically coupled systems are more vulnerable to global extinction events when exhibiting funnel-type chaotic dynamics. (C) 2004 Society for Mathematical Biology. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1909-1931
Number of pages23
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004

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