Problems in detecting chaotic behavior in natural populations by fitting simple discrete models

Journal Article (Journal Article)

In order to predict the long-term qualitative dynamics of natural populations with discrete generations, ecologists have used short-term field data to estimate the parameters of simple difference-equation models whose behaviors are then examined. Three problems complicate the model-fitting approach: 1) the parameter estimates, and hence the predicted dynamics, may be sensitive to the estimation procedure used; 2) different models may fit the data equivalently well and yet make different predictions about population behavior; and 3) even when the best-fit parameters are used, a simple model may fail to capture the observed dynamics of the field population. These problems are illustrated using data from published insect life-table studies (Bupalus piniarius, Cyzenis albicans, Delia coarctata, Operophtera brumata). Inferences about the presence or absence of chaos in natural insect populations that rely on simple best-fit models are premature. -from Author

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Morris, WF

Published Date

  • January 1, 1990

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 71 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 1849 - 1862

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0012-9658

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2307/1937593

Citation Source

  • Scopus