K. Parvinen and G. Meszena (2009)
Disturbance-generated niche-segregation in a structured metapopulation model
Evolutionary Ecology Research 11, 651-666
Available online


Question: Does limiting similarity apply for coexistence maintained by disturbance in a metapopulation?
Methods: In contrast to patch occupancy modeling, we follow both local- and metapopulation-scale dynamics explicitly. The theory of structured metapopulations is used for this purpose. Adaptive dynamics is employed to study evolution.
Key assumptions: Local catastrophes at a given rate. Fixed dispersal rate, trade-off between fecundity and local competitivity.
Results: Coexistence of a few (up to 5), but not more species is observed. They are distinctly different along the trade-off variable and partition the patch-age axis. Series of evolutionary branchings leads to an evolutionary stable coalition.
Conclusions: The usual niche theoretical picture of decreased competition with increased differentiation applies. The patch-age is the proper niche axis. Niche differentiation along this axis is the requirement of coexistence. Constraints of coexistence is overlooked in patch occupancy models.

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