Dynamics of an ant-plant-pollinator model

Yuanshi Wang, Donald L. DeAngelis, J. Nathaniel Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In this paper, we consider plant-pollinator-ant systems in which plant-pollinator interaction and plant-ant interaction are both mutualistic, but there also exists interference of pollinators by ants. The plant-pollinator interaction can be described by a Beddington-DeAngelis formula, so we extend the formula to characterize plant-pollinator mutualisms, including the interference by ants, and form a plant-pollinator-ant model. Using dynamical systems theory, we show uniform persistence of the model. Moreover, we demonstrate conditions under which boundary equilibria are globally asymptotically stable. The dynamics exhibit mechanisms by which the three species could coexist when ants interfere with pollinators. We define a threshold in ant interference. When ant interference is strong, it can drive plant-pollinator mutualisms to extinction. Furthermore, if the ants depend on pollination mutualism for their persistence, then sufficiently strong ant interference could lead to their own extinction as well. Yet, when ant interference is weak, plant-ant and plant-pollinator mutualisms can promote the persistence of one another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)950-964
Number of pages15
JournalCommunications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Acyclicity
  • Extended Beddington-DeAngelis functional response
  • Mutualism
  • Persistence
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Applied Mathematics


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