Sustained dynamic transience in a Lotka–Volterra competition model system for grassland species☆

Publication year: 2011
Source: Ecological Modelling, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 14 June 2011

I.R., Geijzendorffer , W., van der Werf , F.J.J.A., Bianchi , R.P.O., Schulte

Theoretical approaches, such as the Lotka–Volterra framework, enable predictions about long term species coexistence based on stability criteria, but generally assume temporal constancy of system equations and parameters. In real world systems, temporal variability may interfere with the attainment of stable states. Managed grassland ecosystems in Northwestern Europe experience structural periodic fluctuations in environmental conditions: the seasons. In addition, periodic disturbances such as cutting are very common. Here we show, using a Lotka–Volterra system applied to grassland species with empirically derived parameters, that seasonal variability can result in a time dependent equilibrium and redirection of displacement processes.Parameter estimates differed between…

 Highlights: ► A Lotka–Volterra framework was based on empirically derived parameters of grassland species. ► Parameter estimates differed often between species and – in most cases – between the seasons. ► Seasonal variability can result in a time dependent equilibrium and redirection of displacement processes. ► Simulation suggests that cutting can affect the outcome of species interactions.