Short-term instabilities and long-term community dynamics

Peter Chesson, Nancy Huntly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

182 Scopus citations


Competition in a temporally variable environment leads to sequences of short-term instabilities that in some cases are the mechanism of long-term coexistence; in other cases they promote long-term instability. Recent work associates long-term stability with a positive relationship between environmental and competitive effects and with population growth rates that are buffered against jointly unfavorable environmental and competitive events. Buffered growth rates arise from population subdivision over life-history stages, microenvironments or phenotypes. A distinct but related mechanism of long-term stability relies on population growth rates that are nonlinear functions of competition. New ways of understanding and investigating species diversity follow from these results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-298
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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