Source Themes

Coexistence of many species under a random competition-colonization trade-off

The competition–colonization (CC) trade-off is a well-studied coexistence mechanism for metacommunities. In this setting, it is believed that the coexistence of all species requires their traits to satisfy restrictive conditions limiting their …

Habitat heterogeneity, environmental feedbacks, and species coexistence across timescales

Classic ecological theory explains species coexistence in variable environments. While spatial variation is often treated as an intrinsic feature of a landscape, it may be shaped and even generated by the resident community. All species modify their …

Modelling ecological communities when composition is manipulated experimentally

In an experimental setting, the composition of ecological communities can be manipulated directly. Starting from a pool ofspecies, it is possible to co-culture species in different combinations, ranging from monocultures, to pairs, and all the way up …

Stability criteria for the consumption and exchange of essential resources

We analyze how diverse microbial communities can coexist while competing for resources that are essential for growth.

No robust multispecies coexistence in a canonical model of plant-soil feedbacks

Plant–soil feedbacks (PSFs) are considered a key mechanism generating frequency-dependent dynamics in plant communities, but the primary modelling framework used to study PSFs considers only two plant species, and we lack clear theoretical expectations for communities with natural levels of diversity. Here, we demonstrate that this canonical model for PSFs is equivalent to a well-studied model from evolutionary game theory, and use this equivalence to characterise the dynamics with an arbitrary number of plant species. Surprisingly, we find that the coexistence of more than two species is virtually impossible, suggesting that alternative theoretical frameworks are needed to describe feedbacks observed in diverse natural communities.

Metapopulations with habitat modification

We extend a metapopulation model (in which local populations inhabit patches connected by dispersal) to incorporate “patch memory,” modeling environmental modification. This model can produce complex dynamics and illuminates mechanisms that promote diversity in the meta-ecosystem and affect its robustness to changing environmental conditions.

Predicting coexistence in experimental ecological communities

A new statistical method is introduced that can predict the outcomes of unobserved experiments in complex communities using only a limited subset of all possible experiments.

Digest: Does sexual conflict complicate a trade‐off between fecundity and survival?

Why do some species exhibit apparently suboptimal combinations of life history traits? In a comparative study of lizard species, Reedy et al. test the idea that variation in the trade‐off between fecundity and survival can be explained by sexual …