Projects per year
A key question in ecology is what limits species richness. Modern coexistence theory presents the persistence of species as a balance between niche differences and fitness differences that favour and hamper coexistence, respectively. With most applications focusing on species pairs, however, we know little about if and how this balance changes with species richness. Here, we apply recently developed definitions of niche and fitness differences, based on invasion analysis, to multispecies communities. We present the first mathematical proof that, for invariant average interaction strengths, the average fitness difference among species increases with richness, while the average niche difference stays constant. Extensive simulations with more complex models and analyses of empirical data confirmed these mathematical results. Combined, our work suggests that, as species accumulate in ecosystems, ever-increasing fitness differences will at some point exceed constant niche differences, limiting species richness. Our results contribute to a better understanding of coexistence multispecies communities.
|Number of pages||13|
|Early online date||16 Sept 2021|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2021|
- higher-order interactions
- niche and fitness differences
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- 1 Finished
Coexistence, Stress, and Aquatic ecosystem functioning
1/10/16 → 30/09/20