Competitive coexistence in spatially structured environments: a synthesis




Theoretical developments in spatial competitive coexistence are far in advance of empirical investigations. A framework that makes comparative predictions for alternative hypotheses is a crucial element in narrowing this gap. This review attempts to synthesize spatial competition theory into such a framework, with the goal of motivating empirical investigations that adopt the comparative approach. The synthesis presented is based on a major axis, coexistence in spatially homogeneous vs. heterogeneous competitive environments, along which the theory can be organized. The resulting framework integrates such key concepts as niche theory, spatial heterogeneity and spatial scale(s) of coexistence. It yields comparative predictions that can guide empirical investigations.