Pattern Formation in Populations with Density-Dependent Movement and Two Interaction Scales

Martínez-García, Ricardo; Murgui, Clara; Hernández-García, Emilio; López, Cristóbal
Plos One 10, e0132261 (1-14) (2015)

We study the spatial patterns formed by a system of interacting particles where the mobility of any individual is determined by the population crowding at two different spatial scales. In this way we model the behavior of some biological organisms (like mussels) that tend to cluster at short ranges as a defensive strategy, and strongly disperse if there is a high population pressure at large ranges for optimizing foraging. We perform stochastic simulations of a particle-level model of the
system, and derive and analyze a continuous density description (a nonlinear diffusion equation). In both cases we show that this interplay of scale-dependent-behaviors gives rise to a rich formation of spatial patterns ranging from labyrinths to periodic cluster arrangements. In most cases these clusters have the very peculiar appearance of ring-like structures, i.e., organisms arranging in the perimeter of the clusters, that we discuss in detail.

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