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Separation of timescales for the seed bank diffusion and its jump-diffusion limit

Blath, Jochen; Buzzoni, Eugenio; González Casanova, Adrián; Wilke Berenguer, Maite

We investigate scaling limits of the seed bank model when migration (to and from the seed bank) is ‘slow’ compared to reproduction. This is motivated by models for bacterial dormancy, where periods of dormancy can be orders of magnitude larger than reproductive times. Speeding up time, we encounter a separation of timescales phenomenon which leads to mathematically interesting observations, in particular providing a prototypical example where the scaling limit of a continuous diffusion will be a jump diffusion. For this situation, standard convergence results typically fail. While such a situation could in principle be attacked by the sophisticated analytical scheme of Kurtz (J Funct Anal 12:55–67, 1973), this will require significant technical efforts. Instead, in our situation, we are able to identify and explicitly characterise a well-defined limit via duality in a surprisingly non-technical way. Indeed, we show that moment duality is in a suitable sense stable under passage to the limit and allows a direct and intuitive identification of the limiting semi-group while at the same time providing a probabilistic interpretation of the model. We also obtain a general convergence strategy for continuous-time Markov chains in a separation of timescales regime, which is of independent interest.
Published in: Journal of Mathematical Biology, 10.1007/s00285-021-01596-0, Springer Nature