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Invasion processes are ubiquitous throughout cell biology and ecology. During invasion, individuals can become isolated from the bulk population and behave differently. We present a discrete, exclusion-based description of the birth, death and movement of individuals. The model distinguishes between individuals that are part of, or are isolated from, the bulk population by imposing different rates of birth, death and movement. This enables the simulation of various co-operative or competitive mechanisms, where there is either a positive or negative benefit associated with being part of the bulk population, respectively. The mean-field approximation of the discrete process gives rise to 22 different classes of partial differential equation, which can include Allee kinetics and nonlinear diffusion. Here we examine the ability of each class of partial differential equation to support travelling wave solutions and interpret the long time behaviour in terms of the individual-level parameters. For the first time we show that the strong Allee effect and nonlinear diffusion can result in shock-fronted travelling waves. We also demonstrate how differences in group and individual motility rates can influence the persistence of a population and provide conditions for the successful invasion of a population.

Original publication




Journal article


Sci Rep

Publication Date





42134 - 42134