Evol Ecol Res 11: 651-666 (2009)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Disturbance-generated niche-segregation in a structured metapopulation model

Kalle Parvinen1 and Géza Meszéna2

1Department of Mathematics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland and

2Department of Biological Physics, Eötvös University, Budapest, Hungary

Correspondence: K. Parvinen, Department of Mathematics, University of Turku, FIN-20014 Turku, Finland.
e-mail: kalparvi@utu.fi


Question: Does limiting similarity apply for co-existence maintained by disturbance in a metapopulation?

Methods: In contrast to patch occupancy modelling, 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 competitiveness.

Results: Co-existence 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. A series of evolutionary branchings leads to an evolutionarily 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 co-existence. Constraints of co-existence are overlooked in patch occupancy models.

Keywords: disturbance, diversity, metapopulation, niche.

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