Synthesis: Back to Santa Rosalia, or No Wonder There Are So Many Species

Sommer, Ulrich and Worm, Boris (2002) Synthesis: Back to Santa Rosalia, or No Wonder There Are So Many Species Competition and Coexistence. Ecological Studies, 161 . Springer, Berlin, Germany, pp. 207-218. ISBN 978-3-642-62800-9 DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-56166-5_8.

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Modern competition research started with G.E. Hutchinson’s, Homage to Santa Rosalia, and his now-famous question “why are there so many species?” (Hutchinson 1959,1961). This confronted observed species richness with the competitive exclusion principle, a principle that had been derived from theory and from highly artificial experiments. It would always have been easy to point at the “artificial” character of the competitive exclusion principle. Indeed many researchers have refused to deal with Hutchinson’s question because they considered it a pseudo-problem, which arose from a contradiction between overly simplified theory and complicated reality. However, those who took Hutchinson’s challenge seriously have gained fundamental insights into how competition plays out in nature, how species coexist, and how communities function. In this final chapter we attempt to synthesize these insights as they have been presented in this book. We focus on six key topics:

- Identification of major trade-off axes (Sect. 8.1)
- Confirmation of the “intermediate disturbance hypothesis”, and detection of interactions among competition, resource supply, predation and disturbance in field experiments (Sect. 8.2)
- The interplay of space colonization, dispersal and neighborhood competition in sessile communities (Sect. 8.3)
- Potential for chaotic, self-generated heterogeneity in communities (Sect. 8.4)
- Role of exclusive resources in competition among mobile animals (Sect. 8.5)
- Coexistence by slow exclusion (Sect. 8.6)

Document Type: Book chapter
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
OceanRep > Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences
DOI etc.: 10.1007/978-3-642-56166-5_8
ISSN: 0070-8356
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2017 12:57
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2017 12:57

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