Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1978 Oct;75(10):5085-9.

Does environmental variability limit niche overlap?

Author information

  • 1Department of Genetics, University of California, Davis, California 95616.


A stochastic theory of limiting similarity is presented that attempts to quantify the relationship between tolerable niche overlap among competing species and the degree of environmental fluctuation. The theory is based on a heuristic analytical approximation that provides conditions under which a rare invading species can increase in the presence of a community of established competitors. The major qualitative conclusion, derived from investigating two symmetric, discrete-time, stochastic analogs of the Lotka-Volterra competition equations, is that weak to moderate stochastic variation does not appear to limit significantly the similarity of competing species. This result is in sharp contrast to the conclusions of May and MacArthur's pioneering study of stochastic limiting similarity. A possible reason for this discrepancy is explored.

Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk