Oscillator Generated Wave Phenomena and Central Pattern Generators

  • James D. Murray
Part of the Biomathematics book series (BIOMATHEMATICS, volume 19)


In Chapter 9 we saw how diffusion, chemotaxis and convection mechanisms could generate spatial patterns: in later chapters we discuss mechanisms of biologiocal pattern formation extensively. In Chapters 11, 12 and 20 we shall see how diffusion effects, for example, can also generate travelling waves, which have been used to model the spread of pest outbreaks, travelling waves of chemical concentration, colonization of space by a population, spatial spread of epidemics and so on. The existence of such travelling waves is usually a consequence of the coupling of various effects such as diffusion or chemotaxis or convection. There are, however, other wave phenomena of a quite different kind, called kinematic waves, which exhibit wave-like spatial patterns, which depend on the coupling of biological oscillators whose properties relating to phase or period vary spatially. The two phenomena described in this chapter are striking, and the models we shall discuss are based on the experiments or biological phenomena which so dramatically exhibit them. The first involves the Belousov-Zhabotinskii reaction and the second, which is specifically associated with the swimming of, for example, lamprey and dogfish, illustrates the very important concept of a Central Pattern Generator. The results we derive here apply to spatially distributed oscillators in general.


Central Pattern Generator Stable Limit Cycle Ventral Root Kinematic Wave Single Oscillator 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • James D. Murray
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Mathematical Biology Mathematical InstituteUniversity of OxfordOxfordGreat Britain

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