Cooperation and competition along smooth environmental gradients

Journal Article (Review;Journal)

This paper explores the ecological consequences of competition and cooperation, and the resultant abrupt species zonation that could occur along smooth environmental stress gradients. We present one- and two-species models of sessile organisms incorporating competition for space and two forms of cooperation: habitat amelioration and positive recruitment. In these models, habitat amelioration reduces an organism's mortality rate when it is surrounded by other organisms ('safety-in-numbers'), and positive intraspecific recruitment enables juveniles to use the shelter of established individuals as settlement (or germination) sites. A single-species model incorporating both forms of cooperation may exhibit sharp discontinuities in population density along an environmental gradient. In a two-species model the same mechanisms may lead to sharp boundaries in species composition if, as empirical studies suggest, a trade-off exists between colonization and cooperation abilities (e.g., strong cooperators are poor colonizers). Positive interspecific recruitment obscures the interspecific boundaries.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wilson, WG; Nisbet, RM

Published Date

  • January 1, 1997

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 78 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 2004 - 2017

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0012-9658

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1890/0012-9658(1997)078[2004:CACASE]2.0.CO;2

Citation Source

  • Scopus