Journal of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 377–399 | Cite as

Wavespeed in reaction–diffusion systems, with applications to chemotaxis and population pressure

  • Sanjeeva Balasuriya
  • Georg A. GottwaldEmail author


We present a method based on the Melnikov function used in dynamical systems theory to determine the wavespeed of travelling waves in perturbed reaction–diffusion systems. We study reaction–diffusion systems which are subject to weak nontrivial perturbations in the reaction kinetics, in the diffusion coefficient, or with weak active advection. We find explicit formulæ for the wavespeed and illustrate our theory with two examples; one in which chemotaxis gives rise to nonlinear advection and a second example in which a positive population pressure results in both a density-dependent diffusion coefficient and a nonlinear advection. Based on our theoretical results we suggest an experiment to distinguish between chemotactic and population pressure in bacterial colonies.

Mathematics Subject Classification (2000)

37Mxx 92Bxx 92D25 35C07 34C37 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mathematics, Goodwin-Niering Center for Conservation Biology and Environmental StudiesConnecticut CollegeNew LondonUSA
  2. 2.School of Mathematical SciencesUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.School of Mathematics and Statistics, and Centre for Mathematical BiologyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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