SPATIO-TEMPORAL CHAOS IN AN ECOLOGICAL COMMUNITY AS A RESPONSE TO UNFAVOURABLE ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGES
SERGEI V. PETROVSKII
The impact of ecological chaos on population dynamics has been an issue of intense discussion over the last decade. While many authors consider chaotic dynamics as a favourable factor facilitating species biodiversity, there is also a strong opinion that chaos may enhance population extinction. In this paper we show that chaotic spatio-temporal dynamics in an ecological community can arise as a response of the community to unfavourable environmental changes. Appearing in that way, chaos can prevent species extinction in a situation when it would be inevitable otherwise. We also show that an essential consequence of chaotic dynamics is that the issue of species extinction is subject to the size of the domain inhabited by the population, the extinction more likely happens in a small domain than in a large one.
Population dynamics, prey-predator interaction, reaction-diffusion system, spatio-temporal chaos, species extinction
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