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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1974 Aug;71(8):3073-7.

Interference competition and niche theory.


A linear model of interspecific competition with separate parameters for exploitation and interference is deduced. Interference is assumed to have a cost and an effect. The interfering species realizes a "profit" if some resources, which the species interfered against would have utilized, are made available as a result of the interference. Interference is favored when its cost is small, its effect is high, and the resource overlap with the species interfered against is high. Interference is likely to be an alternative strategy to high exploitation efficiency. The incorporation of interference into niche theory clarifies the competitive phenomenon of unstable equilibrium points, excess density compensation on islands, competitive avoidance by escape in time and space, the persistence of the "prudent predator," and the magnitude of the difference between the size of a species' fundamental niche and its realized niche.

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