Chaos and population control of insect outbreaks

Robert A. Desharnais, Robert F Costantino, Jim M Cushing, Shandelle M. Henson, Brian Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We used small perturbations in adult numbers to control large fluctuations in the chaotic demographic dynamics of laboratory populations of the flour beetle Tribolium castaneum. A nonlinear mathematical model was used to identify a sensitive region of phase space where the addition of a few adult insects would result in a dampening of the life stage fluctuations. Three experimental treatments were applied: one in which perturbations were made whenever the populations were inside the sensitive region ("in-box treatment"), another where perturbations were made whenever the populations were outside the sensitive region ("out-box treatment"), and an unperturbed control. The in-box treatment caused a stabilization of insect densities at numbers well below the peak values exhibited by the out-box and control populations. This study demonstrates how small perturbations can be used to influence the chaotic dynamics of an ecological system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-235
Number of pages7
JournalEcology Letters
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Fingerprint

insect control
chaotic dynamics
perturbation
insect
Tenebrionidae
imagos
Tribolium castaneum
nonlinear models
beetle
stabilization
mathematical models
demographic statistics
insects

Keywords

  • Chaos
  • Ecological sensitivity
  • Flour beetles
  • Nonlinear population dynamics
  • Phase space
  • Population control
  • Population perturbations
  • Tribolium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Chaos and population control of insect outbreaks. / Desharnais, Robert A.; Costantino, Robert F; Cushing, Jim M; Henson, Shandelle M.; Dennis, Brian.

In: Ecology Letters, Vol. 4, No. 3, 2001, p. 229-235.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Desharnais, Robert A. ; Costantino, Robert F ; Cushing, Jim M ; Henson, Shandelle M. ; Dennis, Brian. / Chaos and population control of insect outbreaks. In: Ecology Letters. 2001 ; Vol. 4, No. 3. pp. 229-235.
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