Co-ordinating Editor: Jason Fridley.
The twelve theories of co-existence in plant communities: the doubtful, the important and the unexplored
Article first published online: 29 NOV 2010
© 2010 International Association for Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 22, Issue 1, pages 184–195, February 2011
How to Cite
Wilson, J. B. (2011), The twelve theories of co-existence in plant communities: the doubtful, the important and the unexplored. Journal of Vegetation Science, 22: 184–195. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2010.01226.x
Wilson, J.B. (email@example.com): Botany Department, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.
- Issue published online: 12 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 29 NOV 2010
- Received 22 September 2010;, Accepted 5 October 2010.
- Circular interference networks;
- Competitive ability;
- Cyclic succession;
- Environmental fluctuation;
- Initial patch composition;
- Interference/dispersal trade-offs;
- Niche differentiation;
- Paradox of the Plankton;
- Pest pressure;
- Spatial mass effect
Background: Twelve distinct explanations have been proposed for the co-existence of species in ecological communities.
Types of mechanism: The mechanisms can be divided into those that are stabilizing, i.e. with an increase-when-rare mechanism, and those that are equalizing, the latter on their own only delaying the exclusion of species. However, by evening out fitness, equalizing mechanisms can facilitate the operation of stabilizing mechanisms.
Importance: It is suggested that circular interference networks, co-evolution of similar interference ability, cyclic succession, equal chance (neutrality) and initial patch composition are likely to be unimportant, or perhaps not even occur. Equal chance is an equalizing mechanism. Allogenic disturbance, alpha-niche differentiation, environmental fluctuation (relative non-linearity and/or the storage effect) and pest pressure are probably important. All four are stabilizing. More evidence is needed on aggregation, interference/dispersal trade-offs and the spatial mass effect. Aggregation and the spatial mass effect are equalizing. Suggestions are made of the evidence needed to make informed judgements on which contribute the most to co-existence in plant communities.