A new class of non-linear stochastic population models with mass conservation

S.A.L.M. Kooijman, J. Grasman, B.W. Kooi

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11 Citations (Scopus)


We study the effects of random feeding, growing and dying in a closed nutrient-limited producer/consumer system, in which nutrient is fully conserved, not only in the mean, but, most importantly, also across random events. More specifically, we relate these random effects to the closest deterministic models, and evaluate the importance of the various times scales that are involved. These stochastic models differ from deterministic ones not only in stochasticity, but they also have more details that involve shorter times scales. We tried to separate the effects of more detail from that of stochasticity. The producers have (nutrient) reserve and (body) structure, and so a variable chemical composition. The consumers have only structure. so a constant chemical composition. The conversion efficiency from producer to consumer, therefore, varies. The consumers use reserve and structure of the producers as complementary compounds, following the rules of Dynamic Energy Budget theory. Consumers die at constant specific rate and decompose instantaneously. Stochasticity is incorporated in the behaviour of the consumers, where the switches to handling and searching, as well as dying are Poissonian point events. We show that the stochastic model has one parameter more than the deterministic formulation without time scale separation for conversions between searching and handling consumers, which itself has one parameter more than the deterministic formulation with time scale separation for these conversions. These extra parameters are the contributions of a single individual producer and consumer to their densities, and the ratio of the two, respectively. The tendency to oscillate increases with the number of parameters. The focus bifurcation point has more relevance for the asymptotic behaviour of the stochastic model than the Hopf bifurcation point, since a randomly perturbed damped oscillation exhibits a behaviour similar to that of the stochastic limit cycle particularly near this bifurcation point. For total nutrient values below the focus bifurcation point, the system gradually becomes more confined to the direct neighbourhood of the isocline for which the producers do not change. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-394
JournalMathematical Biosciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • dynamics
  • ecosystems
  • quality
  • time


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