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Performance of weak species in the simplest generalization of the rock-paper-scissors model to four species

P. P. Avelino, B. F. de Oliveira, R. S. Trintin

Abstract
We investigate the problem of the predominance and survival of “weak” species in the context of the simplest generalization of the spatial stochastic rock-paper-scissors model to four species by considering models in which one, two, or three species have a reduced predation probability. We show, using lattice based spatial stochastic simulations with random initial conditions, that if only one of the four species has its probability reduced, then the most abundant species is the prey of the “weakest” (assuming that the simulations are large enough for coexistence to prevail). Also, among the remaining cases, we present examples in which “weak” and “strong” species have similar average abundances and others in which either of them dominates—the most abundant species being always a prey of a weak species with which it maintains a unidirectional predator-prey interaction. However, in contrast to the three-species model, we find no systematic difference in the global performance of weak and strong species, and we conjecture that a similar result will hold if the number of species is further increased. We also determine the probability of single species survival and coexistence as a function of the lattice size, discussing its dependence on initial conditions and on the change to the dynamics of the model which results from the extinction of one of the species.

Keywords
Quantitative Biology - Populations and Evolution; Physics - Physics and Society

Physical Review E
Volume 101, Number 0623, Page 7
2020 June

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Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia