Disturbance-generated niche-segregation in a structured metapopulation model

Kalle Parvinen, Géza Meszéna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Question: Does limiting similarity apply for co-existence maintained by disturbance in a metapopulation? Methods: In contrast to patch occupancy modelling, we follow both local- and meta-population-scale dynamics explicitly. The theory of structured metapopulations is used for this purpose. Adaptive dynamics is employed to study evolution. Key assumptions: Local catastrophes at a given rate. Fixed dispersal rate, trade-off between fecundity and local competitiveness. Results: Co-existence of a few (up to 5) but not more species is observed. They are distinctly different along the trade-off variable and partition the patch-age axis. A series of evolutionary branchings leads to an evolutionarily stable coalition. Conclusions: The usual niche theoretical picture of decreased competition with increased differentiation applies. The patch age is the proper niche axis. Niche differentiation along this axis is the requirement of co-existence. Constraints of co-existence are overlooked in patch occupancy models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-666
Number of pages16
JournalEvolutionary Ecology Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2009


  • Disturbance
  • Diversity
  • Metapopulation
  • Niche

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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