Testing the facilitation-competition paradigm under the stress-gradient hypothesis: Decoupling multiple stress factors

Takashi Kawai, Mutsunori Tokeshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


While the facilitation-competition paradigm under the stress-gradient hypothesis has received recent attention, its rigorous testing is yet to be explored. Most of the studies have considered a switch in the net interactions from competition to facilitation with increasing environmental stress as primary evidence supporting the hypothesis, though few studies examined changes in interaction along a full range of a stress gradient. Here, we have conceptualized possible variations in the patterns of change in interaction strength along such gradient. Based on this, we empirically evaluated the temporal shift in the interaction between two marine sessile animals, goose barnacles (Capitulum mitella) and mussels (Septifer virgatus), under multiple stress factors. The net effect of goose barnacles on mussel survivorship was positively related to the total stress gradient encompassing two stress factors, physical disturbance and thermal stress, while no negative value occurred even under mild conditions. When the two stress factors were treated separately, however, the net effect demonstrated apparently different patterns: monotonic increase with physical disturbance versus a quasi-asymptotic pattern (no change over a wide range) with thermal stress. These variable situations have not previously been recognized in this discipline, and the present study emphasizes the importance of an integrative and mechanistic approach to testing and deciphering the facilitation-competition paradigm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2503-2508
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1624
Publication statusPublished - Oct 7 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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