Noise-induced bistable states and their mean switching time in foraging colonies

Tommaso Biancalani, Louise Dyson, Alan J. McKane

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We investigate a type of bistability occurring in population systems where noise not only causes transitions between stable states, but also constructs the states themselves. We focus on the experimentally well-studied system of ants choosing between two food sources to illustrate the essential points, but the ideas are more general. The mean time for switching between the two bistable states of the system is calculated. This suggests a procedure for estimating, in a real system, the critical population size above which bistability ceases to occur. © 2014 American Physical Society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number038101
    JournalPhysical Review Letters
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2014


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