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Title: Stochastic population oscillators in ecology and neuroscience
Author: Lai, Yi Ming
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 0787
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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In this thesis we discuss the synchronization of stochastic population oscillators in ecology and neuroscience. Traditionally, the synchronization of oscillators has been studied in deterministic systems with various modes of synchrony induced by coupling between the oscillators. However, recent developments have shown that an ensemble of uncoupled oscillators can be synchronized by a common noise source alone. By considering the effects of noise-induced synchronization on biological oscillators, we are able to explain various biological phenomena in ecological and neurobiological contexts - most importantly, the long-observed Moran effect. Our formulation of the systems as limit cycle oscillators arising from populations of individuals, each with a random element to its behaviour, also allows us to examine the interaction between an external noise source and this intrinsic stochasticity. This provides possible explanations as to why in ecological systems large-amplitude cycles may not be observed in the wild. In neural population oscillators, we were able to observe not just synchronization, but also clustering in some pa- rameter regimes. Finally, we are also able to extend our methods to include coupling in our models. In particular, we examine the competing effects of dispersal and extrinsic noise on the synchronization of a pair of Rosenzweig-Macarthur predator-prey systems. We discover that common environmental noise will ultimately synchronize the oscillators, but that the approach to synchrony depends on whether or not dispersal in the absence of noise supports any stable asynchronous states. We also show how the combination of correlated (shared) and uncorrelated (unshared) noise with dispersal can lead to a multistable steady-state probability density. Similar analysis on a coupled system of neural oscillators would be an interesting project for future work, which, among other future directions of research, is discussed in the concluding section of this thesis.
Supervisor: Bressloff, Paul C.; Goriely, Alain Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mathematical biology ; Probability theory and stochastic processes ; Computational Neuroscience ; stochastic processes ; dynamical systems ; mathematical neuroscience ; mathematical ecology