BioND — Dynamics of Biological Networks

Long food chains are in general chaotic

Thilo Gross, Wolfgang Ebenhöh, and Ulrike Feudel
Oikos 109(1), 135-155, 2005.


Phase Diagram

The question whether chaos exists in nature is much debated. In this paper we prove that chaotic parameter regions exist generically in food chains of length greater than three. While non-chaotic dynamics is also possible, the presence of chaotic parameter regions indicates that chaotic dynamics is likely. We show that the chaotic regions survive even at high exponents of closure. Our results have been obtained using a general food chain model that describes a large class of different food chains. The existence of chaos in models of such generality can be deduced from the presence of certain bifurcations of higher codimension.

© 2004 The nordic ecological society.