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In the large amoeboid organism Physarum, biochemical oscillators are spatially distributed throughout the organism and their collective motion exhibits phase waves, which carry physiological signals. The basic nature of this wave behaviour is not well-understood because, to date, an important effect has been neglected, namely, the shuttle streaming of protoplasm which accompanies the biochemical rhythms. Here we study the effects of self-consistent flow on the wave behaviour of oscillatory reaction-diffusion models proposed for the Physarum plasmodium, by means of numerical simulation for the dispersion relation and weakly nonlinear analysis for derivation of the phase equation. We conclude that the flow term is able to increase the speed of phase waves (similar to elongation of wave length). We compare the theoretical consequences with real waves observed in the organism and also point out the physiological roles of these effects on control mechanisms of intracellular communication.

Original publication




Journal article


J Math Biol

Publication Date





745 - 760


Animals, Biological Clocks, Cytoplasm, Diffusion, Models, Biological, Numerical Analysis, Computer-Assisted, Physarum polycephalum