Aaron A. King, Ph.D.

Nelson G. Hairston Collegiate Professor of
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Complex Systems, and Mathematics
University of Michigan

Anatomy of a chaotic attractor: subtle model-predicted patterns revealed in population data

A. A. King, R. F. Costantino, J. M. Cushing, S. M. Henson, R. A. Desharnais, and B. Dennis
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 101(1): 408–413, 2004.
In population dynamics, chaos manifests itself as a tapestry of identifiable and predictable patterns woven together by stochasticity.

Mathematically, chaotic dynamics are not devoid of order but display episodes of near-cyclic temporal patterns. This is illustrated, in interesting ways, in the case of chaotic biological populations. Despite the individual nature of organisms and the noisy nature of biological time series, subtle temporal patterns have been detected. By using data drawn from chaotic insect populations, we show quantitatively that chaos manifests itself as a tapestry of identifiable and predictable patterns woven together by stochasticity. We show too that the mixture of patterns an experimentalist can expect to see depends on the scale of the system under study.


The official version of the paper is here.   Please contact Prof. King if you'd like a reprint.

© 2019 Aaron A. King
3068 Biological Sciences Building
1105 North University Avenue
Ann Arbor MI 48109-1085 USA