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J Theor Biol. 2009 May 7;258(1):27-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2008.12.001. Epub 2008 Dec 9.

Limiting similarity and niche theory for structured populations.

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  • 1Department of Biological Physics, Eötvös University, Pázmány Péter sétány 1A, H-1117 Budapest, Hungary.


We develop the theory of limiting similarity and niche for structured populations with finite number of individual states (i-state). In line with a previously published theory for unstructured populations, the niche of a species is specified by the impact and sensitivity niche vectors. They describe the population's impact on and sensitivity towards the variables involved in the population regulation. Robust coexistence requires sufficient segregation of the impact, as well as of the sensitivity niche vectors. Connection between the population-level impact and sensitivity and the impact/sensitivity of the specific i-states is developed. Each i-state contributes to the impact of the population proportional to its frequency in the population. Sensitivity of the population is composed of the sensitivity of the rates of demographic transitions, weighted by the frequency and by the reproductive value of the initial and final i-states of the transition, respectively. Coexistence in a multi-patch environment is studied. This analysis is interpreted as spatial niche segregation.

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