Community consequences of life-history traits in a variable environment

P. L. Chesson, N. Huntly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Models of interspecific competition in a stochastic environment show that the effects of environmental fluctuations on species coexistence can be expected to vary from community to community. However, by taking account of some basic properties of the species in a community it is possible to predict whether environmental fluctuations should promote coexistence, promote competitive exclusion or have no effect on species coexistence. One such property is the way the growth rates of the species respond to the joint effects of environment and competition. In simple (additive) models the joint effect of environment and competition is the sum of their separate effects. Deviations from additivity, in either the direction of subadditivity or superadditivity, are important determinants of species coexistence in a fluctuating environment. Such nonadditive growth rates are predicted on the basis of life-history traits, heterogeneity within a population and heterogeneity in space. Nonadditive growth rates have intuitive interpretations in terms of buffers and amplifiers of the joint effects of environment and competition. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalAnnales Zoologici Fennici
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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