This article compares a general closed nutrient, stoichiometric producer-consumer model to a two-dimensional 'quasi-equilibrium' approximation. We demonstrate that the quasi-equilibrium system can be rigorously analysed, resulting in nullcline-based criteria for the local stability of system equilibria and for the non-existence of periodic orbits. These results are applied to a study of the dependence of the reduced system on nutrient and energy enrichment. When energy and nutrient enrichment are considered together, the associated bifurcation structures of the two models are seen to share the same essential qualitative characteristics. However, numerical simulations of the three-dimensional parent model show highly complex domains of the persistence and extinction that by Poincare-Bendixson theory are not possible for the two-dimensional reduction. This complexity demonstrates a major difference between the two models, and suggests potential challenges in the use of either model for predicting the long-term behaviour of real-world systems at specific nutrient and energy levels.
- energy and nutrient enrichment
- producer-consumer models