Intuitive and broadly applicable definitions of niche and fitness differences

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Explainingnature’s biodiversity is a key challenge for science. To persist, populationsmust be able to grow faster when rare, a feature called negative frequency dependenceand quantified as ‘niche differences’ (N) in coexistence theory. Here, we first show thatavailable definitions ofNdiffer in howNlink to species interactions, are difficult tointerpret, and often apply to specific community types only. We then present a new def-inition ofNthat is intuitive and applicable to a broader set of (modelled and empirical)communities than is currently the case, filling a main gap in the literature. GivenN, wealso re-define fitness differences (F) and illustrate howNandFdetermine coexistence.Finally, we demonstrate how to apply our definitions to theoretical models and experi-mental data, and provide ideas on how they can facilitate comparison and synthesis incommunity ecology.
langue originaleAnglais
journalEcology Letters
Etat de la publicationPublié - 27 avr. 2020

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