Competition and Coexistence by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Sommer, Dr. Boris Worm (auth.)

By Prof. Dr. Ulrich Sommer, Dr. Boris Worm (auth.)

The query "Why are there such a lot of species?" has questioned ecologist for a very long time. at the start, a tutorial query, it has received functional curiosity via the hot knowledge of world biodiversity loss. Species variety in neighborhood ecosystems has regularly been mentioned relating to the matter of competi­ tive exclusion and the obvious contradiction among the aggressive exclu­ sion precept and the overpowering richness of species present in nature. festival as a mechanism structuring ecological groups hasn't ever been uncontroversial. not just its value yet even its lifestyles were debated. at the one severe, a few ecologists have taken competi­ tion without any consideration and feature used it as a proof by way of default if the distribu­ tion of a species used to be extra limited than can be defined by means of body structure and dispersal historical past. for many years, pageant has been a center mechanism in the back of renowned techniques like ecological area of interest, succession, restricting similarity, and personality displacement, between others. For a few, festival has virtually turn into synonymous with the Darwinian "struggle for existence", even if basic plausibility should still let us know that organisms need to fight opposed to even more than rivals, e.g. predators, parasites, pathogens, and envi­ ronmental harshness.

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Which of the two species will become dominant depends on the species that gets ahead first. Thus, for all supply points that fall in region 4 of Fig. 8C, competition leads to competitive exclusion, with a winner that depends on the initial conditions. Tilman (1977) was the first to confirm the validity of these predictions experimentally for two diatom species competing for phosphate and silicate. The outcome of competition closely followed the scenario illustrated in Fig. 8B, with competitive exclusion in region 1 and region 2 and stable coexistence of the two diatom species for all supply points in the middle region (region 3 in Fig.

High biodiversity appears to be closely linked to a low predictability of the species dynamics. Acknowledgements. We gratefully acknowledge Reinhard Heerkloss for freely sharing the data of his long-term laboratory experiment. We thank James Grover and Ulrich Sommer for their helpful comments on the manuscript. J. Passarge was supported by a grant from the Netherlands Institute for Inland Water Management and Wastewater Treatment (RIZA). J. Huisman was supported by a grant from the Earth and Life Sciences Foundation (ALW), which is subsidised by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Accordingly, failure to accurately predict the species composition of natural communities is frequently explained by shortcomings in our understanding of the ecological mechanisms involved. Extending ecological models with more adequate equations and more reliable parameter estimates is therefore generally seen as a proper solution to this problem. However, is this general view correct? As this chapter has illustrated, it is possible to predict the outcome of resource competition under confined and well-mixed laboratory conditions, at least as long as the 'principle of competitive exclusion' holds.

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