July  2007, 8(1): 207-228. doi: 10.3934/dcdsb.2007.8.207

Modeling the rock - scissors - paper game between bacteriocin producing bacteria by Lotka-Volterra equations

1. 

Department of Bioinformatics, Friedrich-Schiller-University, Ernst - Abbé - Platz 2, D-07743 Jena, Germany, Germany

Received  October 2005 Revised  July 2006 Published  April 2007

In this paper we analyze the population dynamics of bacteria competing by anti-bacterial toxins (bacteriocins). Three types of bacteria involved in these dynamics can be distinguished: toxin producers, resistant bacteria and sensitive bacteria. Their interplay can be regarded as a Rock-Scissors-Paper - game (RSP). Here, this is modeled by a reasonable three-dimensional Lotka- Volterra ($L$V) type differential equation system. In contrast to earlier approaches to modeling the RSP game such as replicator equations, all interaction terms have negative signs because the interaction between the three different types of bacteria is purely competitive, either by toxification or by competition for nutrients. The model allows one to choose asymmetric parameter values. Depending on parameter values, our model gives rise to a stable steady state, a stable limit cycle or a heteroclinic orbit with three fixed points, each fixed point corresponding to the existence of only one bacteria type. An alternative model, the May - Leonard model, leads to coexistence only under very restricted conditions. We carry out a comprehensive analysis of the generic stability conditions of our model, using, among other tools, the Volterra-Lyapunov method. We also give biological interpretations of our theoretical results, in particular, of the predicted dynamics and of the ranges for parameter values where different dynamic behavior occurs. For example, one result is that the intrinsic growth rate of the producer is lower than that of the resistant while its growth yield is higher. This is in agreement with experimental results for the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.
Citation: Gunter Neumann, Stefan Schuster. Modeling the rock - scissors - paper game between bacteriocin producing bacteria by Lotka-Volterra equations. Discrete & Continuous Dynamical Systems - B, 2007, 8 (1) : 207-228. doi: 10.3934/dcdsb.2007.8.207
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