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Pattern, process, scale, and model's sensitivity: Comment on "Phase separation driven by density-dependent movement: A novel mechanism for ecological patterns" by Quan-Xing Liu et al.

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-11-29, 16:09 authored by Sergei Petrovskii
Spatial distribution of ecological populations is rarely homogeneous. Typically, the population density exhibits considerable variability of space, in an extreme yet not uncommon case creating a “patchy” pattern where areas of high population density alternate with areas where the population density is much lower or close to zero [1]. This phenomenon, often generically referred to as ecological patterning or ecological pattern formation, has long been a focus of interest in ecology and a number of theories and models have been developed aiming to explain it under different ecological and/or environmental conditions and on different spatial and temporal scales; see Table 1. A straightforward explanation of the heterogeneous distribution of population density relates it to the heterogeneity of the environment (e.g. to nonuniform distribution of resources) and this is indeed often the case [2]. However, a closer look reveals that this is not enough and in many cases the heterogeneity of population density is only weakly correlated to the heterogeneity of the environment [3] and [19]. Understanding that biological interactions play, on the relevant spatial and temporal scales [20], as important role in shaping the ecological patterns as the physical/chemical forcing resulted in a number of theories. The earliest one that used the idea of Turing's instability [4] was followed by several others [5], [6] and [21] including theories where pattern formation was due to a non-Turing mechanism [8] and [9] and theories where the movement behavior and/or density dependence was an essential factor [12] and [14].

History

Citation

Physics of Life Reviews, 2016

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/Department of Mathematics

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Physics of Life Reviews

Publisher

Elsevier

issn

1571-0645

eissn

1873-1457

Acceptance date

2016-09-08

Available date

2018-09-09

Publisher version

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1571064516300926

Language

en

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