Numerical proof for chemostat chaos of Shilnikov's type

Bo Deng, Maoan Han, Sze Bi Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A classical chemostat model is considered that models the cycling of one essential abiotic element or nutrient through a food chain of three trophic levels. The long-time behavior of the model was known to exhibit complex dynamics more than 20 years ago. It is still an open problem to prove the existence of chaos analytically. In this paper, we aim to solve the problem numerically. In our approach, we introduce an artificial singular parameter to the model and construct singular homoclinic orbits of the saddle-focus type which is known for chaos generation. From the configuration of the nullclines of the equations that generates the singular homoclinic orbits, a shooting algorithm is devised to find such Shilnikov saddle-focus homoclinic orbits numerically which in turn imply the existence of chaotic dynamics for the original chemostat model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number033106
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Applied Mathematics


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