Lattice effects observed in chaotic dynamics of experimental populations

S. M. Henson, R. F. Costantino, J. M. Cushing, R. A. Desharnais, B. Dennis, A. A. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-605
Number of pages4
Issue number5542
StatePublished - Oct 19 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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