Complex oscillatory motion of multiple spikes in a three-component Schnakenberg system

Shuangquan Xie, Theodore Kolokolnikov, Yasumasa Nishiura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we introduce a three-component Schnakenberg model, whose key feature is that it has a solution consisting of N spikes that undergoes Hopf bifurcations with respect to N distinct modes nearly simultaneously. This results in complex oscillatory dynamics of the spikes, not seen in typical two-component models. For parameter values beyond the Hopf bifurcations, we derive reduced equations of motion which consist of coupled ordinary differential equations (ODEs) of dimension 2N for spike positions and their velocities. These ODEs fully describe the slow-time evolution of the spikes near the Hopf bifurcations. We then apply the method of multiple scales to the resulting ODEs to derive the long-time dynamics. For a single spike, we find that its long-time motion consists of oscillations near the steady state whose amplitude can be computed explicitly. For two spikes, the long-time behavior can be either in-phase or out-of-phase oscillations. Both in-phase and out-of-phase oscillations are stable, coexist for the same parameter values, and the fate of motion depends solely on the initial conditions. Further away from the Hopf bifurcation points, we offer numerical experiments indicating the existence of highly complex oscillations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberac0d46
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug


  • coexistence of multiple oscillatory spikes
  • matched asymptotic methods
  • reduction methods
  • three-component activate-substrate-inhibitor system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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