Single-species fragmentation: the role of density-dependent feedbacks

Dornelas, V.; Colombo, E.H.; Anteneodo, C.
Physical Review E 99, 062225 (2019)

Internal feedbacks are commonly present in biological populations and can play a crucial role in the emergence of collective behavior. We consider a generalization of Fisher-KPP equation to describe the temporal evolution of the distribution of a single-species population. This equation includes the elementary processes of random motion, reproduction and, importantly, nonlocal interspecific competition, which introduces a spatial scale of interaction. Furthermore, we take into account feedback mechanisms in diffusion and growth processes, mimicked through density-dependencies controlled by exponents ν and μ, respectively. These feedbacks include, for instance, anomalous diffusion, reaction to overcrowding or to rarefaction of the population, as well as Allee-like effects. We report that, depending on the dynamics in place, the population can self-organize splitting into disconnected sub-populations, in the absence of environment constraints. Through extensive numerical simulations, we investigate the temporal evolution and stationary features of the population distribution in the one-dimensional case. We discuss the crucial role that density-dependency has on pattern formation, particularly on fragmentation, which can bring important consequences to processes such as epidemic spread and speciation.

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