Competition and Coexistence

  • Ulrich Sommer
  • Boris Worm

Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 161)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XI
  2. U. Sommer, B. Worm
    Pages 1-5
  3. C. A. Klausmeier, D. Tilman
    Pages 43-78
  4. J. Fargione, D. Tilman
    Pages 165-206
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 219-221

About this book


The question "Why are there so many species?" has puzzled ecologist for a long time. Initially, an academic question, it has gained practical interest by the recent awareness of global biodiversity loss. Species diversity in local ecosystems has always been discussed in relation to the problem of competi­ tive exclusion and the apparent contradiction between the competitive exclu­ sion principle and the overwhelming richness of species found in nature. Competition as a mechanism structuring ecological communities has never been uncontroversial. Not only its importance but even its existence have been debated. On the one extreme, some ecologists have taken competi­ tion for granted and have used it as an explanation by default if the distribu­ tion of a species was more restricted than could be explained by physiology and dispersal history. For decades, competition has been a core mechanism behind popular concepts like ecological niche, succession, limiting similarity, and character displacement, among others. For some, competition has almost become synonymous with the Darwinian "struggle for existence", although simple plausibility should tell us that organisms have to struggle against much more than competitors, e.g. predators, parasites, pathogens, and envi­ ronmental harshness.


Biodiversität Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis Konkurrenzausschluss Konkurrenztheorie biodiversity competition theory competitive exclusion principle ecological modelling ecosystem mesocosm plankton räumlich-zeitliche Va Ökologisches Modell

Authors and affiliations

  • Ulrich Sommer
    • 1
  • Boris Worm
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut für MeereskundeUniversität KielKielGermany
  2. 2.Institut für MeereskundeUniversität KielKielGermany
  3. 3.Biology DepartmentDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-3-642-62800-9
  • Online ISBN 978-3-642-56166-5
  • Series Print ISSN 0070-8356
  • Buy this book on publisher's site