Journal of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 68, Issue 1–2, pp 377–415 | Cite as

Coexistence phenomena and global bifurcation structure in a chemostat-like model with species-dependent diffusion rates

  • François Castella
  • Sten MadecEmail author


We study the competition of two species for a single resource in a chemostat. In the simplest space-homogeneous situation, it is known that only one species survives, namely the best competitor. In order to exhibit coexistence phenomena, where the two competitors are able to survive, we consider a space dependent situation: we assume that the two species and the resource follow a diffusion process in space, on top of the competition process. Besides, and in order to consider the most general case, we assume each population is associated with a distinct diffusion constant. This is a key difficulty in our analysis: the specific (and classical) case where all diffusion constants are equal, leads to a particular conservation law, which in turn allows to eliminate the resource in the equations, a fact that considerably simplifies the analysis and the qualitative phenomena. Using the global bifurcation theory, we prove that the underlying 2-species, stationary, diffusive, chemostat-like model, does possess coexistence solutions, where both species survive. On top of that, we identify the domain, in the space of the relevant bifurcation parameters, for which the system does have coexistence solutions.


Global bifurcation Elliptic systems Heterogeneous environment Coexistence Chemostat 

Mathematics Subject Classification (2000)

35B32 35J61 35Q92 58J20 92D25 



We thanks the two anonymous referees for their careful reading and various comments which greatly improve the original manuscript. We thanks professor Y. Lagadeuc for bringing this problem to ours knowledge though valuable discussions and comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université de Rennes 1, UMR CNRS 6625 Irmar Rennes CedexFrance
  2. 2.Université de Tours, UMR 7350 LMPT ToursFrance

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