Competition and species coexistence in a metapopulation model: can fast asymmetric migration reverse the outcome of competition in a homogeneous environment? uri icon


  • Local competition is asymmetric with the same superior competitor in both patches. Migration is asymmetric, species dependent and fast in comparison to local competitive interactions. The species and patches are taken to be otherwise similar: in both patches we assume the same carrying capacities for both species, and the same growth rates and pair-wise competition coefficients for each species.
  • We investigate whether asymmetric fast migration can modify the predictions of classical competition theory and, in particular revert species dominance. We consider a model of two species competing for an implicit resource on a habitat divided into two patches. Both patches are connected through constant migration rates and in each patch local dynamics are driven by a Lotka-Volterra competition system.
  • We show that global dynamics can be described by a classical Lotka-Volterra competition model. We found that by modifying the ratio of intraspecific migration rates for both species all possible combinations of global species relative dominance can be achieved. We find specific conditions for which the local superior competitor is globally excluded. This is to our knowledge the first study showing that fast asymmetric migration can lead to inferior competitor dominance in a homogeneous environment. We conclude that disparity of temporal scales between migration and local dynamics may have important consequences for the maintenance of biodiversity in spatially structured populations. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2010
  • 2010