Recent studies of spatially explicit metapopulation models have shown
the existence of complex transient behaviour (supertransients and
mesotransients) characterized by spontaneous changes in the system's
dynamics after thousands or hundreds of generations, respectively.
Their detection in simple ecological models has been taken as evidence
that transient dynamics may be common in nature. In this study, we
explore the generality of these phenomena in a simple one-dimensional
spatially explicit metapopulation model. We investigate how frequently
supertransient behaviour emerges in relation to the shape and type
of the dispersal kernel used (normal and Laplace), system size, boundary
conditions and how sensitive they are to initial conditions. Our
results show that supertransients are rare, are heavily affected
by initial conditions and occur for a small set of dispersal parameter
values, which vary according to kernel type, system size, and boundary
conditions. Similarly, mesotransients emerge over a very narrow range
of dispersal parameter values and are rare under all circumstances.
Thus, transient dynamics are not likely to be either common or widespread
in simple models of ecological systems.
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