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VOLE POPULATION DYNAMICS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF SPECIALIST AND GENERALIST PREDATION

Authors


Corresponding author. B. Mukhopadhyay, Department of Science, Central Calcutta Polytechnic, 21, Convent Road, Kolkata 700 014, India, e-mail: banibrat001@yahoo.co.in.

Abstract

Abstract To understand the impact of predation by different types of predators on the vole population dynamics, we formulate a three differential equation model describing the population dynamics of voles, the “specialist predator” and the “generalist predator.” First we perform a local stability study of the different steady states of the basic model and deduce that the predation rates of the “specialist” as well as the “generalist” predator are the main parameters controlling the existence/extinction criteria of the concerned populations. Next we analyze the model from a thermodynamic perspective and study the thermodynamic stability of the different equilibria. Finally using stochastic driving forces, we incorporate the exogenous factor of environmental forcing and investigate the stochastic stability of the system. We compare the stability criteria of the different steady states under deterministic, thermodynamic and stochastic situations. The analysis reveals that when the “specialist” and the “generalist” predator are modeled separately, the system exhibits rich dynamics and the predation rates of both types of predators play a major role in controlling vole oscillation and/or stability. These findings are also seen to resemble closely with the observed behavior of voles in the natural setting. Numerical simulations are carried out to illustrate analytical findings.

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