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Citation. Lehman, C. L.; Tilman, D. 1997. Competition in spatial habitats. Pages 185-203 in, D. Tilman and P. Kareiva, eds., Spatial Ecology: The Role of Space in Population Dynamics and Interspecific Interactions. Princeton University Press, New Jersey. [1592 LTER]
Summary. Implicit spatial structure, coupled with trade-offs in species dispersal and competitive traits, promotes coexistence among competing species that would otherwise be subject to competitive exclusion. Coexistence continues as spatial structure is made more explicit and as local population dynamics are made more realistic. Added realism leads to new phenomena, such as spatial patterning and increasing stochasticity down the competitive hierarchy. Explicit spatial structure coupled with stochasticity helps explain the apparent discrepancy between observations of strong competition at the fine scale and random assemblages of species at the community scale. Implicit spatial structure, interacting with phenotypic mutation and competitive dynamics, can organize a continuous array of phenotypes into discrete species-like sympatric clusters. In all these cases, the dynamics of competition over a spatial habitat can be dramatically different from the corresponding dynamics in each local site.