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Velocity fluctuations of population fronts propagating into metastable states

By Baruch Meerson, Pavel V. Sasorov and Yitzhak Kaplan


The position of propagating population fronts fluctuates because of the discreteness of the individuals and stochastic character of processes of birth, death and migration. Here we consider a Markov model of a population front propagating into a metastable state, and focus on the weak noise limit. For typical, small fluctuations the front motion is diffusive, and we calculate the front diffusion coefficient. We also determine the probability distribution of rare, large fluctuations of the front position and, for a given average front velocity, find the most likely population density profile of the front. Implications of the theory for population extinction risk are briefly considered.Comment: 8 pages, 3 figure

Topics: Condensed Matter - Statistical Mechanics, Quantitative Biology - Populations and Evolution
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1103/PhysRevE.84.011147
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