Deterministic limits to stochastic spatial models of natural enemies

M. J. Keeling, H. B. Wilson, Stephen Wilson Pacala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Stochastic spatial models are becoming an increasingly popular tool for understanding ecological and epidemiological problems. However, due to the complexities inherent in such models, it bas been difficult to obtain any analytical insights. Here, we consider individual-based, stochastic models of both the continuous-time Lotka-Volterra system and the discrete-time Nicholson-Bailey model. The stability of these two stochastic models of natural enemies is assessed by constructing moment equations. The inclusion of these moments, which mimic the effects of spatial aggregation, can produce either stabilizing or destabilizing influences on the population dynamics. Throughout, the theoretical results are compared to numerical models for the full distribution of populations, as well as stochastic simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-80
Number of pages24
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


  • Lotka-Volterra
  • Moment closure
  • Nicholson-Bailey
  • Population dynamics
  • Stability


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