Taxis-driven pattern formation in a predator-prey model with group defense

Autor(en): Koehnke, Merlin C.
Siekmann, Ivo
Malchow, Horst 
Stichwörter: DIFFUSION; DYNAMICS; Ecology; Environmental Sciences & Ecology; Excitable medium; Group defense; Pattern formation; Predator invasion; Prey-taxis; PULSES; Reaction-diffusion; SYSTEM; TARGET PATTERNS; WAVES
Erscheinungsdatum: 2020
Herausgeber: ELSEVIER
Journal: ECOLOGICAL COMPLEXITY
Volumen: 43
Zusammenfassung: 
We consider a reaction-diffusion(-taxis) predator-prey system with group defense in the prey. Taxis-driven instability can occur if the group defense influences the taxis rate (Wang et al., 2017). We elaborate that this mechanism is indeed possible but biologically unlikely to be responsible for pattern formation in such a system. Conversely, we show that patterns in excitable media such as spatiotemporal Sierpinski gasket patterns occur in the reaction-diffusion model as well as in the reaction-diffusion-taxis model. If group defense leads to a dome shaped functional response, these patterns can have a rescue effect on the predator population in an invasion scenario. Preytaxis with prey repulsion at high prey densities can intensify this mechanism leading to taxis induced persistence. In particular, taxis can increase parameter regimes of successful invasions and decrease minimum introduction areas necessary for a successful invasion. Last, we consider the mean period of the irregular oscillations. As a result of the underlying mechanism of the patterns, this period is two orders of magnitude smaller than the period in the nonspatial system. Counter-intuitively, faster-moving predators lead to lower oscillation periods and eventually to extinction of the predator population. The study does not only provide valuable insights on theoretical spatially explicit predator-prey models with group defense but also comparisons of ecological data with model simulations.
ISSN: 1476945X
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecocom.2020.100848

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