Species competition: Uncertainty on a double invariant loop

Robert A. Desharnais, Jeffrey Edmunds, R. F. Costantino, Shandelle M. Henson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The Tribolium (flour beetle) competition experiments conducted by Park have been highly influential in ecology. We have previously shown that the dynamics of single-species Tribolium populations can be well-described by the discrete-time, 3-dimensional larva-pupa-adult (LPA) model. Motivated by Park's experiments, we explore the dynamics of a 6-dimensional "competition LPA model" consisting of two LPA models coupled through cannibalism. The model predicts a double-loop coexistence attractor, as well as an unstable exclusion equilibrium with a 5-dimensional stable manifold that plays an important role in causing one of the species to go extinct in the presence of stochastic perturbations. We also present a stochastic version of the model, using binomial and Poisson distributions to describe the aggregation of demographic events within life stages. A novel "stochastic outcome diagram," the stochastic counterpart to a bifurcation diagram, summarizes the model-predicted dynamics of uncertainty on the double-loop. We hypothesize that the model predictions provide an explanation for Park's data. This "stochastic double-loop hypothesis" is accessible to experimental verification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-325
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Difference Equations and Applications
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005


  • Invariant loop
  • Species competition
  • Stochasticity
  • Tribolium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analysis
  • Algebra and Number Theory
  • Applied Mathematics


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