INSTITUTO DE FISICA DE LIQUIDOS Y SISTEMAS BIOLOGICOS
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Self-organization of plants in a dryland ecosystem: Symmetry breaking and critical cluster size
ARIEL G. MEYRA; GUILLERMO J. ZARRAGOICOECHEA; VICTOR A. KUZ
PHYSICAL REVIEW E - STATISTICAL PHYSICS, PLASMAS, FLUIDS AND RELATED INTERDISCIPLINARY TOPICS
Lugar: New York; Año: 2015 vol. 91 p. 1 - 8
Periodical patterns of vegetation in an arid or semiarid ecosystem are described using statistical mechanics and Monte Carlo numerical simulation technique. Plants are characterized by the area that each individual occupies and a facilitation-competition pairwise interaction. Assuming that external resources (precipitation, solar radiation, nutrients, etc.) are available to the ecosystem, it is possible to obtain the persistent configurations of plants compatible with an equitable distribution of resources maximizing the Shannon entropy. Variation of vegetation patterns with density, critical cluster size, and facilitation distance are predicted. Morphological changes of clusters are shown to be a function of the external resources. As a final remark, it is proposed that an early warning of desertification could be detected from the coefficient of variation of the mean cluster size together with the distribution of cluster sizes.