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Keywords:

  • Metapopulations;
  • interspecific competition;
  • extinction;
  • colonization;
  • dispersal;
  • Daphnia;
  • rockpools

The assumptions and predictions of metapopulation models for competing species are discussed in relation to empirical studies of colonization and extinction in metapopulations. In three species of Daphnia in rockpools, interspecific competition increased local extinction rates, while no effects on colonization rates were detected. Distributional patterns were consistent with several predictions of the competition model; for example, the number of species on an island increased with the number of pools and the proportion of pools occupied by each species decreased with increasing species number. It is concluded that interspecific competition is important for the distributional dynamics of Daphnia species in rockpools, but the question whether the coexistence of these species depends on metapopulation dynamics is still unresolved. Other studies on the effects of interspecific competition on colonization and extinction rates are discussed.