Predator-prey cycles from resonant amplification of demographic stochasticity

A. J. McKane, T. J. Newman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    287 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We present the simplest individual level model of predator-prey dynamics and show, via direct calculation, that it exhibits cycling behavior. The deterministic analogue of our model, recovered when the number of individuals is infinitely large, is the Volterra system (with density-dependent prey reproduction) which is well known to fail to predict cycles. This difference in behavior can be traced to a resonant amplification of demographic fluctuations which disappears only when the number of individuals is strictly infinite. Our results indicate that additional biological mechanisms, such as predator satiation, may not be necessary to explain observed predator-prey cycles in real (finite) populations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number218102
    Number of pages4
    JournalPhysical Review Letters
    Volume94
    Issue number21
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2005

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