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Journal Articles Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena Year : 2016

Spike-adding mechanism in parabolic bursters: the role of folded-saddle canards


The present work develops a new approach to studying parabolic bursting, and also proposes a novel four-dimensional canonical and polynomial-based parabolic burster. In addition to this new polynomial system, we also con- sider the conductance-based model of the Aplysia R15 neuron known as Plant’s model, and a reduction of this prototypical biophysical parabolic burster to three variables, including one phase variable, namely Rinzel’s theta model. Re- visiting these models from the perspective of slow-fast dynamics reveals that the number of spikes per burst may vary upon parameter changes, however the spike-adding process occurs in a brutal (explosive) fashion that involves special solutions called canards. This spike-adding canard explosion phenomenon is analysed by using tools from geometric singular perturbation theory in tandem with numerical bifurcation techniques. We find that the bifurcation structure persists across both parabolic bursters, that is, spikes within the burst are incre- mented via the crossing of an excitability threshold given by a particular type of canard orbit, namely the strong canard of a folded-saddle singularity. Using these findings, we construct a new polynomial approximation of Plant’s model, which retains all the key elements for parabolic bursting, including the canard- mediated spike-adding transitions. Finally, we briefly investigate the presence of spike-adding via canards in planar phase models of parabolic bursting, namely the theta model by Ermentrout and Kopell.

Dates and versions

hal-01136874 , version 1 (29-03-2015)



Mathieu Desroches, Martin Krupa, Serafim Rodrigues. Spike-adding mechanism in parabolic bursters: the role of folded-saddle canards. Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena, 2016, 331 (1), pp.58-70. ⟨10.1016/j.physd.2016.05.011⟩. ⟨hal-01136874⟩
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