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Bistability, wave pinning and localisation in natural reaction-diffusion systems

Champneys, Alan R., Al Saadi, Fahad, Breña-Medina, Victor F., Grieneisen, Verônica A. ORCID:, Maree, Athanasius F.M. ORCID:, Verschueren, Nicolas and Wuyts, Bert 2021. Bistability, wave pinning and localisation in natural reaction-diffusion systems. Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena 416 , 132735. 10.1016/j.physd.2020.132735

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A synthesis is presented of recent work by the authors and others on the formation of localised patterns, isolated spots, or sharp fronts in models of natural processes governed by reaction–diffusion equations. Contrasting with the well-known Turing mechanism of periodic pattern formation, a general picture is presented in one spatial dimension for models on long domains that exhibit sub-critical Turing instabilities. Localised patterns naturally emerge in generalised Schnakenberg models within the pinning region formed by bistability between the patterned state and the background. A further long-wavelength transition creates parameter regimes of isolated spots which can be described by semi-strong asymptotic analysis. In the species-conservation limit, another form of wave pinning leads to sharp fronts. Such fronts can also arise given only one active species and a weak spatial parameter gradient. Several important applications of this theory within natural systems are presented, at different lengthscales: cellular polarity formation in developmental biology, including root-hair formation, leaf pavement cells, keratocyte locomotion; and the transitions between vegetation states on continental scales. Philosophical remarks are offered on the connections between different pattern formation mechanisms and on the benefit of subcritical instabilities in the natural world.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0167-2789
Date of Acceptance: 8 September 2020
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 11:28

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