Negative density dependence can offset the effect of species competitive asymmetry: A niche-based mechanism for neutral-like patterns

Xiaoguang Du, Shurong Zhou*, Rampal S. Etienne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The debate on the role of species differences in shaping biodiversity patterns, with its two extremes of pure niche theory and neutral theory, is still ongoing. It has been demonstrated that a slight difference in competitive ability of species severely affects the predictions of the neutral model. At the same time, neutral patterns seem to be ubiquitous. Here, we model both negative density dependence (NDD) and competitive asymmetry (CA) simultaneously. Our simulation results show that an appropriate intensity of NDD can offset the negative effect of CA (modeled as fecundity difference) on species coexistence and produce a neutral-like species abundance distribution. Therefore, our model provides a plausible mechanistic explanation of neutral-like patterns, but contrary to the neutral model, a species' relative abundance is positively related to its competitive ability in our model. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume278
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7-Jun-2011

Keywords

  • Negative density dependence
  • Competitive asymmetry
  • Neutral model
  • Assembly mechanism
  • COMMUNITY ECOLOGY
  • TROPICAL FORESTS
  • TREE COMMUNITY
  • ABUNDANCE DISTRIBUTIONS
  • UNIFIED THEORY
  • RAIN-FORESTS
  • CORAL-REEFS
  • DIVERSITY
  • BIODIVERSITY
  • COEXISTENCE

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