Chaotic Dynamics in an Insect Population

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Science  17 Jan 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5298, pp. 389-391
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5298.389

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A nonlinear demographic model was used to predict the population dynamics of the flour beetle Tribolium under laboratory conditions and to establish the experimental protocol that would reveal chaotic behavior. With the adult mortality rate experimentally set high, the dynamics of animal abundance changed from equilibrium to quasiperiodic cycles to chaos as adult-stage recruitment rates were experimentally manipulated. These transitions in dynamics corresponded to those predicted by the mathematical model. Phase-space graphs of the data together with the deterministic model attractors provide convincing evidence of transitions to chaos.

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