Contributions to nonstationary community theory

Peter Chesson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The study of the role of environmental variation in community dynamics has traditionally assumed that the environment is a stationary stochastic process or a periodic deterministic process. However, the physical environment in nature is nonstationary. Moreover, anthropogenically driven climate change provides a new challenge emphasizing a persistent but frequently ignored problem: how to make predictions about the dynamics of communities when the nonstationarity of the physical environment is recognized. Recent work is providing a path to conclusions with none of the traditional assumptions of environmental stationarity or periodicity. Traditional assumptions about convergence of long-term averages of functions of environmental states can be replaced by assumptions about temporal sums, allowing convergence and persistence of population processes to be demonstrated in general nonstationary environments. These tools are further developed and illustrated here with some simple models of nonstationary community dynamics, including the Beverton-Holt model, the threshold exponential and the lottery model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-150
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of biological dynamics
Issue numbersup1
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019


  • Beverton-Holt model
  • Nonstationary process
  • climate change
  • lottery model
  • threshold exponential model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Contributions to nonstationary community theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this