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J Theor Biol. 1999 Apr 7;197(3):331-41.

Dynamic complexities in host-parasitoid interaction

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Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyvaskyla, Box 35, FIN-40351 Jyvaskyla, Finland.


In the 1970s ecological research detected chaos and other forms of complex dynamics in simple population dynamics models, initiating a new research tradition in ecology. However, the investigations of complex population dynamics have mainly concentrated on single populations and not on higher dimensional ecological systems. Here we report a detailed study of the complicated dynamics occurring in a basic discrete-time model of host-parasitoid interaction. The complexities include (a) non-unique dynamics, meaning that several attractors coexist, (b) basins of attraction (defined as the set of the initial conditions leading to a certain type of an attractor) with fractal properties (pattern of self-similarity and fractal basin boundaries), (c) intermittency, (d) supertransients, (e) chaotic attractors, and (f) "transient chaos". Because of these complexities minor changes in parameter or initial values may strikingly change the dynamic behavior of the system. All the phenomena presented in this paper should be kept in mind when examining and interpreting the dynamics of ecological systems. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.


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