1 Biocomplexity, The Niels Bohr Institute, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 unknown3 Biocomplexity, The Niels Bohr Institute, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet
Theoretical models that describe oscillations in biological systems are often either a limit cycle oscillator, where the deterministic nonlinear dynamics gives sustained periodic oscillations, or a noise-induced oscillator, where a fixed point is linearly stable with complex eigenvalues, and addition of noise gives oscillations around the fixed point with fluctuating amplitude. We investigate how each class of models behaves under the external periodic forcing, taking the well-studied van der Pol equation as an example. We find that when the forcing is additive, the noise-induced oscillator can show only one-to-one entrainment to the external frequency, in contrast to the limit cycle oscillator which is known to entrain to any ratio. When the external forcing is multiplicative, on the other hand, the noise-induced oscillator can show entrainment to a few ratios other than one-to-one, while the limit cycle oscillator shows entrain to any ratio. The noise blurs the entrainment in general, but clear entrainment regions for limit cycles can be identified as long as the noise is not too strong.