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Competition‐Similarity Relationships and the Nonlinearity of Competitive Effects in Consumer‐Resource Systems
Peter A. Abrams, Claus Rueffler and Russell Dinnage
The American Naturalist
Vol. 172, No. 4 (October 2008), pp. 463-474
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/590963
Page Count: 12
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Mortality, Coefficients, Natural resources, Resource management, Term weighting, Logistics, Nonlinearity, Per capita growth, Density, Resource utilization
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Abstract: Much previous ecological and evolutionary theory about exploitative competition for a continuous spectrum of resources has used the Lotka‐Volterra model with competition coefficients given by a Gaussian function of niche separation. Using explicit consumer‐resource models, we show that the Lotka‐Volterra model and the assumption of a Gaussian competition‐similarity relationship both fail to reflect the impact of strong resource depletion, which typically reduces the influence of the most heavily used resources on the competitive interaction. Taking proper account of resource depletion reveals that strong exploitative competition between efficient consumers is usually a highly nonlinear interaction, implying that a single measure is no longer sufficient to characterize the process. The nonlinearity usually entails weak coupling of competing species when their abundances are high and equal. Rare invaders are likely to have effects on abundant residents much larger than those of the resident on the invader. Asymmetrical utilization curves often produce asymmetrical competition coefficients. Competition coefficients are typically non‐Gaussian and are often nonmonotonic functions of niche separation. Utilization curve shape and resource growth functions can have major effects on competition‐similarity relationships. A variety of previous theoretical findings need to be reassessed in light of these results.
© 2008 by The University of Chicago.