Get access
Advertisement

Effects of asymmetric dispersal on the coexistence of competing species

Authors

  • Yacov Salomon,

    Corresponding author
    1. ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, and School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4810, Australia
    2. School of Mathematics, Physics and Information Technology, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4810, Australia
      * E-mail: ysalomon@pgrad.unimelb.edu.au
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Sean R. Connolly,

    1. ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, and School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4810, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Lance Bode

    1. School of Mathematics, Physics and Information Technology, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4810, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

* E-mail: ysalomon@pgrad.unimelb.edu.au

Abstract

Ecology Letters (2010) 13: 432–441

Abstract

The global biodiversity crisis has made a priority of understanding biodiversity maintenance in ecological communities. It is increasingly apparent that dispersal patterns can have important effects on such maintenance processes. Nevertheless, most competition theory has focused on a small subset of the possible dispersal patterns in nature. Here, we show that spatially asymmetric dispersal, i.e. the disproportionate transport of propagules towards or away from particular habitat patches in a metacommunity, when it differs between species, can promote the coexistence of competing species even in the absence of environmental heterogeneity among habitat patches. Moreover, when asymmetric dispersal is present, changes in the self-recruitment of competitive dominants and subordinates have important, but fundamentally different, effects on species coexistence. Our results underscore the importance of the interplay between species interactions and dispersal patterns for understanding the effects of habitat fragmentation and for designing regional-scale conservation strategies, such as networks of protected areas.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary