A comparison of the “reduced losses” and “increased production” models for mussel bed dynamics

Jonathan A. Sherratt*, Quan Xing Liu, Johan van de Koppel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number99
Number of pages26
JournalBulletin of mathematical biology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Mathematical model
  • Mussels
  • Pattern formation
  • Reaction–diffusion–advection


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