Approaching Planktonic Food Webs: Competition, Coexistence, and Chaos

  • Tom Andersen
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 129)


Resource competition is defined as an indirect form of competition where the participating species are exploiting a shared resource. An increase in one species will, under this condition, decrease the amount of resource available to the other species, and thereby reduce their chances to proliferate. If the resource availability is reduced to such a low level that a species is unable to maintain non-negative net growth rate, this species will eventually be competitively excluded from the community. For an arbitrary number of species competing for a single resource in a constant environment, it can be shown that all but one species will be competitively excluded. This result can be stated more generally as the principle of competitive exclusion; that two species can coexist only if they exploit their environment differently (Hardin 1960), or that an arbitrary number of species can coexist at constant levels, if they are limited by the same number of resources (Levin 1970).


Phytoplankton Species Zooplankton Biomass Stable Focus Supply Ratio Competitive Exclusion Principle 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Andersen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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