Simple temporal models for ecological systems with complex spatial patterns

Mercedes Pascual, Manojit Roy, Alain Franc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spatial patterns are ubiquitous in nature. Because these patterns modify the temporal dynamics and stability properties of population densities at a range of spatial scales, their effects must be incorporated in temporal ecological models that do not represent space explicitly. We demonstrate a connection between a simple parameterization of spatial effects and the geometry of clusters in an individual-based predator-prey model that is both nonlinear and stochastic. Specifically we show that clusters exhibit a power-law scaling of perimeter to area with an exponent close to unity. In systems with a high degree of patchiness, similar power-law scalings can provide a basis for applying simple temporal models that assume well-mixed conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-419
Number of pages8
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Cluster geometry
  • Individual-based predator-prey model
  • Modified mean-field equation
  • Power-law scaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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