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Talk Abstract
Coexistence of Competitors in Spatial Habitats: Theory and Experimental Tests in Grasslands

G. David Tilman
McKnight Distinguished University Professor and Director
Cedar Creek Natural History Area
Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
University of Minnesota

Joint work with Clarence Lehman, University of Minnesota, Department of Ecology.

One solution to the paradoxically large number of competing species that coexist in most ecological communities is provided by models that either implicitly or explicitly consider the effects of space on the outcome of competition. Spatial models that assume an interspecific tradeoff between competitive abilities and colonization abilities predict the stable coexistence of unlimited numbers of species. We show that such models are evolutionarily robust and predict several related patterns that occur in natural communities. However, field experiments demonstrate that additional factors are needed to explain the high diversity of coexisting plants in native grassland communities.

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1998-1999 Mathematics in Biology
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