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Anomalously slow attrition times for asymmetric populations with internal group dynamics.

Authors
  • 1
  • 1 Department of Physics, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida 33126, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Physical Review Letters
1079-7114
Publisher
American Physical Society
Publication Date
Volume
103
Issue
14
Pages
148701–148701
Identifiers
PMID: 19905607
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The many-body dynamics exhibited by living objects include group formation within a population and the nonequilibrium process of attrition between two opposing populations due to competition or conflict. We show analytically and numerically that the combination of these two dynamical processes generates an attrition duration T whose nonlinear dependence on population asymmetry x is in stark contrast to standard mass-action theories. A minority population experiences a longer survival time than two equally balanced populations, irrespective of whether or not the majority population adopts such an internal grouping. Adding a third population with predefined group sizes allows T(x) to be tailored. Our findings compare favorably to real-world observations.

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