Regular Article - Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
Stabilizing spiral structures and population diversity in the asymmetric May–Leonard model through immigration
Department of Physics and Center for Soft Matter and Biological Physics, Virginia Tech, Robeson Hall, 850 West Campus Drive (MC 0435), 24061, Blacksburg, VA, USA
Accepted: 16 July 2021
Published online: 24 August 2021
We study the induction and stabilization of spiral structures for the cyclic three-species stochastic May–Leonard model with asymmetric predation rates on a spatially inhomogeneous two-dimensional toroidal lattice using Monte Carlo simulations. In an isolated setting, strongly asymmetric predation rates lead to rapid extinction from coexistence of all three species to a single surviving population. Even for weakly asymmetric predation rates, only a fraction of ecologies in a statistical ensemble manages to maintain full three-species coexistence. However, when the asymmetric competing system is coupled via diffusive proliferation to a fully symmetric May–Leonard patch, the stable spiral patterns from this region induce transient plane-wave fronts and ultimately quasi-stationary spiral patterns in the vulnerable asymmetric region. Thus, the endangered ecological subsystem may effectively become stabilized through immigration from even a much smaller stable region. To describe the stabilization of spiral population structures in the asymmetric region, we compare the increase in the robustness of these topological defects at extreme values of the asymmetric predation rates in the spatially coupled system with the corresponding asymmetric May–Leonard model in isolation. We delineate the quasi-stationary nature of coexistence induced in the asymmetric subsystem by its diffusive coupling to a symmetric May–Leonard patch, and propose a (semi-)quantitative criterion for the spiral oscillations to be sustained in the asymmetric region.
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to EDP Sciences, SIF and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2021