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Consumer-resource theory predicts dynamic transitions between outcomes of interspecific interactions

Ecology Letters

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Abstract

Interactions between two populations are often defined by their interaction outcomes; that is, the positive, neutral, or negative effects of species on one another. Yet, signs of outcomes are not absolute, but vary with the biotic and abiotic contexts of interactions. Here, we develop a general theory for transitions between outcomes based on consumer-resource (C-R) interactions in which one or both species exploit the other as a resource. Simple models of C-R interactions revealed multiple equilibria, including one for species coexistence and others for extinction of one or both species, indicating that species densities alone could determine the fate of interactions. All possible outcomes (+ +), (+ -), (- -), (+ 0), (- 0), (0 0) of species coexistence emerged merely through changes in parameter values of C-R interactions, indicating that variation in C-R interactions resulting from biotic and abiotic conditions could determine shifts in outcomes. These results suggest that C-R interactions can provide a broad mechanism for understanding context- and density-dependent transitions between interaction outcomes.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Consumer-resource theory predicts dynamic transitions between outcomes of interspecific interactions
Series title:
Ecology Letters
Volume
12
Issue:
12
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Publisher:
Wiley
Publisher location:
Hoboken, NJ
Contributing office(s):
Southeast Ecological Science Center
Description:
10 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Ecology Letters
First page:
1357
Last page:
1366