Bingtuan Li, Hans F. Weinberger and Mark A. Lewis,  Spreading speeds as slowest wave speeds for cooperative systems,  


It is well known that in many scalar models for the spread of a fitter phenotype or species into the territory of a less fit one, the asymptotic spreading speed can be characterized as the lowest speed of a suitable family of traveling waves of the model. Despite a general belief that multi-species (vector) models have the same property, we are unaware of any proof to support this belief. The present work establishes this result for a class of multi-species model of a kind studied by Lui [Biological growth and spread modeled by systems of recursions. I: Mathematical theory, Math. Biosci. 93 (1989) 269] and generalized by the authors [Weinberger et al., Analysis of the linear conjecture for spread in cooperative models, J. Math. Biol. 45 (2002) 183; Lewis et al., Spreading speeds and the linear conjecture for two-species competition models, J. Math. Biol. 45 (2002) 219]. Lui showed the existence of a single spreading speed c* for all species. For the systems in the two aforementioned studies by the authors, which include related continuous-time models such as reaction-diffusion systems, as well as some standard competition models, it sometimes happens that different species spread at different rates, so that there are a slowest speed c* and a fastest speed View the MathML source. It is shown here that, for a large class of such multi-species systems, the slowest spreading speed c* is always characterized as the slowest speed of a class of traveling wave solutions.

Keywords: Traveling waves; Cooperative systems; Spreading speed; Reaction-diffusion; Discrete-time systems