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The Representation of Niche Breadth and Overlap on Tilman's Consumer-Resource Graphs

Peter S. Petraitis
Oikos
Vol. 56, No. 3 (Nov., 1989), pp. 289-292
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3565612
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3565612
Page Count: 4
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The Representation of Niche Breadth and Overlap on Tilman's Consumer-Resource Graphs
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Abstract

Changes in measures of niche breadth and overlap do not necessarily reflect changes in the intensity of competition. While niche measures, like all static indexes, are poor descriptions of dynamic processes, most niche measures have the additional problem of not being explicitly derived from specific models of competition. I show that the symmetric measure of niche overlap is equivalent to the cosine of the angle between the consumption vectors in Tilman's model of resource competition. Niche breadth is shown to be related to the orientation of the consumption vector. This provides an easy and clear way to visualize the relationship between niche measures and the equilibrium levels of consumption and resource availability in cases where the assumptions of Tilman's model are met.

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