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Citation. Tilman, D. 1987. On the meaning of competition and the mechanisms of competitive superiority. Functional Ecology 1:304-315. [1168 LTER]
Introduction. Thompson (1987) evaluated my theory of plant competition, community structure and succession (Tilman, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1986a) by considering how five assumptions or predictions of my work compared with the ideas and data of Grime (1979). Thompson's predisposition toward believing the ideas in Grime (1979) is clearly indicated by his closing sentence, which stated that my work 'opens up arguments about the nature of competition (above and below ground and at low and high resource levels) and the evolution of life histories in response to stress, which I had hoped had been settled 10 years ago,' i.e. with the publication of Grime (1979). However, few issues in science are ever settled, once and for all time. Although Grime (1979) had a significant impact on the field, there is new observational, experimental and theoretical evidence that supports alternative conceptual approaches.