Coexistence and extinction for two competing species in patchy environments

Chang Yuan Cheng, Kuang Hui Lin*, Chih-Wen Shih

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A system of two competing species u and v that diffuse over a two-patch environment is investigated. When u-species has smaller birth rate in the first patch and larger birth rate in the second patch than v-species, and the average birth rate for u-species is larger than or equal to v-species, it was shown in a previous publication that two species coexist in a slow diffusion environment, whereas uspecies drives v-species into extinction in a fast diffusion environment. In this paper, we analyze global dynamics and bifurcations for the same model with identical order of birth rates, but with opposite order of average birth rates, i.e., the average birth rate of u-species is less than that of v-species. We observe richer dynamics with two scenarios, depending on the relative difference between the variation in the birth rates of v-species on two patches and the variation in the average birth rates of two species. When the variation in average birth rates is relatively large, there is no stability switch for the semitrivial equilibria. On the other hand, such a stability switch takes place when the variation in average birth rates is relatively mild. In both cases, v-species, with larger average birth rate, prevails in a fast diffusion environment, whereas in a slow diffusion environment, the two species can coexist or u-species that has the greatest birth rate among both species and patches will persist and drive v-species to extinction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-946
Number of pages38
JournalMathematical Biosciences and Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Competing species
  • Dispersal rate
  • Global dynamics
  • Monotone dynamics
  • Patchy environment
  • Spatial heterogeneity


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