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Heterogeneity induces spatiotemporal oscillations in reaction-diffusions systems

Krause, Andrew L., Klika, Vaclav, Woolley, Thomas E. ORCID: and Gaffney, Eamonn A. 2018. Heterogeneity induces spatiotemporal oscillations in reaction-diffusions systems. Physical Review E 97 , 052206. 10.1103/PhysRevE.97.052206

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We report on a novel instability arising in activator-inhibitor reaction-diffusion (RD) systems with a simple spatial heterogeneity. This instability gives rise to periodic creation, translation, and destruction of spike solutions that are commonly formed due to Turing instabilities. While this behavior is oscillatory in nature, it occurs purely within the Turing space such that no region of the domain would give rise to a Hopf bifurcation for the homogeneous equilibrium. We use the shadow limit of the Gierer-Meinhardt system to show that the speed of spike movement can be predicted from well-known asymptotic theory, but that this theory is unable to explain the emergence of these spatiotemporal oscillations. Instead, we numerically explore this system and show that the oscillatory behavior is caused by the destabilization of a steady spike pattern due to the creation of a new spike arising from endogeneous activator production. We demonstrate that on the edge of this instability, the period of the oscillations goes to infinity, although it does not fit the profile of any well known bifurcation of a limit cycle. We show that nearby stationary states are either Turing unstable, or undergo saddle-node bifurcations near the onset of the oscillatory instability, suggesting that the periodic motion does not emerge from a local equilibrium. We demonstrate the robustness of this spatiotemporal oscillation by exploring small localized heterogeneity, and showing that this behavior also occurs in the Schnakenberg RD model. Our results suggest that this phenomenon is ubiquitous in spatially heterogeneous RD systems, but that current tools, such as stability of spike solutions and shadow-limit asymptotics, do not elucidate understanding. This opens several avenues for further mathematical analysis and highlights difficulties in explaining how robust patterning emerges from Turing's mechanism in the presence of even small spatial heterogeneity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Mathematics
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics
Publisher: American Physical Society
ISSN: 1539-3755
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 April 2018
Date of Acceptance: 26 April 2018
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 02:19

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