Niche Overlaps and the Evolution of Competitive Interactions

  • H. Reşit Akçakaya
  • L. R. Ginzburg
Conference paper


Several theoretical studies have suggested that the nature of interactions between species effect the structure of communities. Most of these studies were based on the analysis of an interaction matrix A, and its stability properties. The elements of this matrix describe the interactions between species: diagonal elements α ii describe the effect of the population of species i on itself (i.e., self-limitation as a result of density-dependent factors), and off-diagonal elements α ij describe the effect of species j on the growth rate of species i. The signs of the two corresponding elements of the matrix, α ij and α ji together define the type of interaction between species i and species j: (0,0) for no interaction, (−,−) for competition, (−,+) for predation/parasitism, (0,−) for amensalism, (0,+) for commensalism, and (+,+) for mutualism. The number of species (i.e., the dimension of the matrix), m, and the proportion of non-zero elements of the matrix (connectance), C, were used as measures of the complexity of the system (May, 1972).


Fossil Record Interspecific Competition Intraspecific Competition Niche Breadth Resource Dimension 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Reşit Akçakaya
    • 1
  • L. R. Ginzburg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and EvolutionState University of New YorkStony BrookUSA

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