The age-structured lottery model

Sonya Dewi, Peter Chesson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The lottery model of competition between species in a variable environmental has been influential in understanding how coexistence may result from interactions between fluctuating environmental and competitive factors. Of most importance, it has led to the concept of the storage effect as a mechanism of species coexistence. Interactions between environment and competition in the lottery model stem from the life-history assumption that environmental variation and competition affect recruitment to the adult population, but not adult survival. The strong role of life-history attributes in this coexistence mechanism implies that its robustness should be checked for a variety of life-history scenarios. Here, age structure is added to the adult population, and the results are compared with the original lottery model. This investigation uses recently developed shape characteristics for mortality and fecundity schedules to quantify the effects of age structure on the long-term low-density growth rate of a species in competition with its competitor when applying the standard invasibility coexistence criterion. Coexistence conditions are found to be affected to a small degree by the presence of age structure in the adult population: Type III mortality broadens coexistence conditions, and type I mortality makes them narrower. The rates of recovery from low density for coexisting species, and the rates of competitive exclusion in other cases, are modified to a greater degree by age structure. The absolute rates of recovery or decline of a species from low density are increased by type I mortality or early peak reproduction, but reduced by type III mortality or late peak reproduction. Analytical approximations show how the most important effects can be considered as simple modifications of the long-term low-density growth rates for the original lottery model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-343
Number of pages13
JournalTheoretical Population Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Fecundity schedule
  • Invasibility analysis
  • Life history
  • Lottery model
  • Mortality schedule
  • Storage effect
  • Δ-Measure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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