Lotka's game in predator-prey theory: linking populations to individuals.
This paper further examines an individual-based model of a spatially distributed predator-prey population that demonstrates strong spatial structuring in contrast with predictions from its representative analytic formulation. Examination of a small, localized population reveals that extinctions due to demographic stochasticity dominate the dynamics. Local extinction dynamics produce wave pulses and the interactions of these wave pulses constitute global dynamics. The results motivate a population-level cell-based model with each cell representing a local population and parameterized by local extinction probabilities, rather than individual-based interaction rates. A detailed comparison of spatiotemporal plots from the two modelling frameworks shows that the population-level model captures the broad range of dynamics exhibited by the individual-based model. The agreement between these two complementary theoretical frameworks, one formulated at the level of individuals, the other at the level of populations, provides a mechanistic understanding of the dynamics.
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