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Different types of synchrony in chaotic and cyclic communities


Becks,  Lutz
Research Group Community Dynamics, Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Becks, L., & Arndt, H. (2013). Different types of synchrony in chaotic and cyclic communities. Nature Communications, 4: 1359. doi:10.1038/ncomms2355.

Stability and persistence of populations is of great interest for management and conservation purposes. Spatial dynamics can have a crucial role in population stability via synchronization, and beneficial and detrimental effects on population persistence have been shown. Despite a theoretical understanding of synchronization, empirical data on synchrony of populations are restricted to systems that do not display the full spectrum of complex dynamics that may occur in nature (that is, chaos or quasiperiodicity). Here we show in experiments that the qualitative form of dynamic behaviour of chaotic and periodic oscillating communities did not change when unidirectionally coupled to oscillating driver communities. Driver and response populations were phase locked in cyclic communities, whereas chaotic communities showed only short periods of statistical coherencies. Our study provides the first empirical analysis of synchronization of chaotic communities and shows that the likelihood for chaos is not lowered in spatially explicit systems but that cyclic and chaotic systems differ in synchronization.