Self-organised regular pattern formation is one of the foremost examples of the development of complexity in ecosystems. Despite the wide array of mechanistic models that have been proposed to understand pattern formation, there is limited general understanding of the feedback processes causing pattern formation in ecosystems, and how these affect ecosystem patterning and functioning. Here we propose a generalised model for pattern formation that integrates two types of within-patch feedback: amplification of growth and reduction of losses. Both of these mechanisms have been proposed as causing pattern formation in mussel beds in intertidal regions, where dense clusters of mussels form, separated by regions of bare sediment. We investigate how a relative change from one feedback to the other affects the stability of uniform steady states and the existence of spatial patterns. We conclude that there are important differences between the patterns generated by the two mechanisms, concerning both biomass distribution in the patterns and the resilience of the ecosystems to disturbances.
- Mathematical model
- Pattern formation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Environmental Science(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Computational Theory and Mathematics