Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Spatial population dynamics and self-organized spatial pattern have become popular topics in ecology, but the large variety of different models and ideas about spatial population dynamics make it difficult to reach general conclusions. I use spatial moment equations, equations for the expected changes in mean densities and spatial covariances of different plant species, to analyze a simple but general and individual-based model of plant community dynamics. Moment equations strengthen some traditional ideas about spatial competition (the competition-colonization tradeoff), but they also suggest new or overlooked mechanisms of spatial competition (exploitation or successional niches and phalanx growth) and provide a broader framework for thinking about spatial population dynamics.
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