Intra-specific competition and density dependent juvenile growth

J. M. Cushing, Jia Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


A difference equation model for the dynamics of a semelparous size-structured species consisting of juvenile and adult individuals is derived and studied. The adult population consists of two size classes, a smaller class and a larger more fertile class. Negative feedback occurs through slowed juvenile growth due to increased total population levels during the developmental period and consequently a smaller adult size at maturation. Intra-specific competition coefficients are size dependent and measure the strength of intra-specific competition between juveniles and adults. It is shown that equilibrium states in which adults and juveniles occur together at all times are in general destabilized by significantly increased juvenile vs adults competition with the result that stable periodic cycles appear, in which the generations alternate in time and hence avoid competition. This result supports the tenet that intra-specific competition between juveniles and adults is destabilizing. Exceptions to this destabilization principle are found, however, in which populations exhibiting non-equilibrium, aperiodic dynamics can be equilibrated by increase competition between juveniles and adults. This occurs, for example, when adult fertility and competition coefficients are significantly size class dependent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-519
Number of pages17
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Immunology
  • General Mathematics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Pharmacology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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