Lattice Effects Observed in Chaotic Dynamics of Experimental Populations
Animals and many plants are counted in discrete units. The collection of possible values (state space) of population numbers is thus a nonnegative integer lattice. Despite this fact, many mathematical population models assume a continuum of system states. The complex dynamics, such as chaos, often displayed by such continuous-state models have stimulated much ecological research; yet discrete-state models with bounded population size can display only cyclic behavior. Motivated by data from a population experiment, we compared the predictions of discrete-state and continuous-state population models. Neither the discrete- nor continuous-state models completely account for the data. Rather, the observed dynamics are explained by a stochastic blending of the chaotic dynamics predicted by the continuous-state model and the cyclic dynamics predicted by the discrete-state models. We suggest that such lattice effects could be an important component of natural population fluctuations.
Henson, Shandelle M.; Costantino, R. F.; Cushing, J. M.; Desharnais, Robert A.; Dennis, Brian; and King, Aaron A., "Lattice Effects Observed in Chaotic Dynamics of Experimental Populations" (2001). Faculty Publications. 2231.