Coexistence of temporally segregated competitors in a cyclic environment. (English) Zbl 0683.92019

Summary: Coexistence of temporally segregated competitors in a cyclic environment (e.g., univoltine insect species active in different seasons) is investigated using discrete dynamical models involving two consumers competing for the exploitation of one resource. Coexistence turns out to hinge first and foremost on the difference between the time scales of resource and consumer dynamics. When the dynamics of the resource is discrete with a time step equal to or only slightly shorter than that of the consumers, temporal segregation of consumers does not make for their coexistence. Beyond a critical frequency of resource dynamics, coexistence becomes possible between completely temporally segregated species, and gets easier as resource dynamics gets more frequent (tending to continuity) and faster, and as the consumers are more efficient and more similar. When the time scale of resource dynamics is short enough, coexistence also becomes possible between species that overlap in time. However, there is a limiting amount of temporal overlap they can tolerate, which increases as their efficiency, their similarity, and resource availability increase.


92D40 Ecology
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