Spatial heterogeneity of mortality and temporal fluctuation in fertility promote coexistence but not vice versa: A random-community approach

Soyoka Muko, Yoh Iwasa

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Both spatial heterogeneity and temporal fluctuation of the environment are important mechanisms promoting species coexistence, but they work in different manners. We consider many pairs of species with randomly generated survivorship and fertility in the lottery model, and examine how the variability in demographic processes affects the outcome of competition. The results are: [Amarasekare, P., Nisbet, R.M., 2001. Spatial heterogeneity, source-sink dynamics, and the local coexistence of competing species. Am. Nat. 158, 572-584] Coexistence is easier if habitat difference in mortality is greater, or if year-to-year variation in reproductive rate is larger. But neither habitat-difference in fertility nor temporal variation in mortality promotes coexistence. [Armstrong, R.A., McGehee, R., 1976. Coexistence of species competing for shared resources. Theor. Popul. Biol. 9, 317-328] Mean fertility does not affect the outcome if CV remains constant. In contrast, enhanced mean mortality decreases the fraction of coexisting pairs if the environment fluctuates temporally. [Buia, M.C., Mazzella, L., 1991. Reproductive phenology of the Mediterranean seagrasses Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile, Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Aschers., and Zostera noltii Hornem. Aquat. Bot. 40, 343-362] We also investigate the effect of limited dispersal of propagules between habitats. Compared with the complete mixing case, the fraction of coexisting pairs is clearly enhanced if the spatial heterogeneity is the major source of environmental variation, but shows slight increase if the temporal fluctuation is dominant. We conclude that spatial heterogeneity is likely to work more effectively in promoting species coexistence than temporal fluctuation, especially when the species suffer relatively high mortality, and disperse their propagules in a limited spatial scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-600
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 7 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Applied Mathematics


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