Original Research

Is interspecific competition a major structuring force in animal communities?

P. A. J. Ryke
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 6, No 4 | a962 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v6i4.962 | © 1987 P. A. J. Ryke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 March 1987 | Published: 17 March 1987

About the author(s)

P. A. J. Ryke,, South Africa

Full Text:

PDF (539KB)

Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

Until recently the view that competition is the dominant ecological interaction was the prevailing one. Interspecific competition was widely regarded as a principal mechanism in determining community structure and organization and thus the distribution and abundance of species. The volume of literature that provides indirect evidence in favour of competition (observational approach) greatly exceeds the number of studies that provide direct evidence (experimental approach). In part for this reason the importance of competition in community ecology is questioned by some ecologists. The strongest evidence for competition is derived from controlled field experiments which manipulate the abundancies of putative competitor species. It is stressed that to be able to study competition in the field and to test its theories, interaction coefficients have to be measured. In community studies the question should be asked how important competition, relative to other processes, is. A mechanistic perspective could be a powerful heuristic tool for community ecologists.

Keywords

No related keywords in the metadata.

Metrics

Total abstract views: 776
Total article views: 1558

Reader Comments

Before posting a comment, read our privacy policy.

Post a comment (login required)

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.