Tuesday, March 12, 2013

1104.4355 (Z. C. Feng et al.)

A Resolution of the Paradox of Enrichment    [PDF]

Z. C. Feng, Y. Charles Li
The paradox of enrichment was observed by M. Rosenzweig in a class of predator-prey models. Two of the parameters in the models are crucial for the paradox. These two parameters are the prey's carrying capacity and prey's half-saturation for predation. Intuitively, increasing the carrying capacity due to enrichment of the prey's environment should lead to a more stable predator-prey system. Analytically, it turns out that increasing the carrying capacity always leads to an unstable predator-prey system that is susceptible to extinction from environmental random perturbations. This is the so-called paradox of enrichment. Our resolution here rests upon a closer investigation on a dimensionless number $H$ formed from the carrying capacity and the prey's half-saturation. By recasting the models into dimensionless forms, the models are in fact governed by a few dimensionless numbers including $H$. The effects of the two parameters: carrying capacity and half-saturation are incorporated into the number $H$. In fact, increasing the carrying capacity is equivalent (i.e. has the same effect on $H$) to decreasing the half-saturation which implies more aggressive predation. Since there is no paradox between more aggressive predation and instability of the predator-prey system, the paradox of enrichment is resolved. We also further explore spatially dependent models for which the phase space is infinite dimensional. The spatially independent limit cycle which is generated by a Hopf bifurcation from an unstable steady state, is linearly stable in the infinite dimensional phase space. Numerical simulations indicate that the basin of attraction of the limit cycle is riddled. This shows that spatial perturbations can sometimes (neither always nor never) remove the paradox of enrichment near the limit cycle!
View original: http://arxiv.org/abs/1104.4355

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