Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Systems Modeling and Analysis

First Advisor

Hassan Sedaghat

Second Advisor

Norma Ortiz-Robinson

Third Advisor

Rebecca Segal

Fourth Advisor

Edward Boone

Fifth Advisor

Oleg Korenok


We study planar systems of difference equations and applications to biological models of species populations. Central to the analysis of this study is the idea of folding - the method of transforming systems of difference equations into higher order scalar difference equations. Two classes of second order equations are studied: quadratic fractional and exponential.

We investigate the boundedness and persistence of solutions, the global stability of the positive fixed point and the occurrence of periodic solutions of the quadratic rational equations. These results are applied to a class of linear/rational systems that can be transformed into a quadratic fractional equation via folding. These results apply to systems with negative parameters, instances not commonly considered in previous studies. We also identify ranges of parameter values that provide sufficient conditions on existence of chaotic and multiple stable orbits of different periods for the planar system.

We study a second order exponential difference equation with time varying parameters and obtain sufficient conditions for boundedness of solutions and global convergence to zero. For the autonomous case, we show occurrence of multistable periodic and nonperiodic orbits. For the case where parameters are periodic, we show that the nature of the solutions differs qualitatively depending on whether the period of the parameters is even or odd.

The above results are applied to biological models of populations. We investigate a broad class of planar systems that arise in the study of stage-structured single species populations. In biological contexts, these results include conditions on extinction or survival of the species in some balanced form, and possible occurrence of complex and chaotic behavior. Special rational (Beverton-Holt) and exponential (Ricker) cases are considered to explore the role of inter-stage competition, restocking strategies, as well as seasonal fluctuations in the vital rates.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission