Competition and coexistence in plankton communities

Sommer, Ulrich (2002) Competition and coexistence in plankton communities Competition and Coexistence. Ecological Studies, 161 . Springer, Berlin, Germany, pp. 79-108. ISBN 3-540-43311-2 DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-56166-5_4.

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Planktonic protozoa (ciliates of the genus Paramecium) were the first test organisms by which the competitive exclusion principle could be demonstrated (Gause 1934). Plankton (now phytoplankton) again served as model organisms when Hutchinson (1961) made the ecological community aware of the apparent contradiction between the competitive exclusion principle and the number of coexisting species (“the paradox of the plankton”; the theoretical foundations are explained in Chap. 2, this Vol.). This article turned out to be extremely fruitful in generating discussion in ecology and developing models to solve the paradox of the plankton became a major challenge. The most influential of these attempts was Tilman’s (1977) theory of resource competition, which again used phytoplankton (the freshwater diatoms Asterionella formosa and Cyclotella meneghiniana) for its first experimental test. During the following decades, plankton still played an important role as experimental model organisms in the analysis of competition and coexistence. Within plankton there was a strong bias towards phytoplankton, bacterioplankton ranking second and zooplankton third. The popularity of plankton had several reasons, some of them are more technical, and one reason is more fundamental.

Document Type: Book chapter
Keywords: Food Webs; plankton communities
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1007/978-3-642-56166-5_4
ISSN: 0070-8356
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:25
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2017 12:52

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