Beyond pairwise mechanisms of species coexistence in complex communities

Jonathan M. Levine, Jordi Bascompte, Peter B. Adler, Stefano Allesina

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

149 Scopus citations

Abstract

The tremendous diversity of species in ecological communities has motivated a century of research into the mechanisms that maintain biodiversity. However, much of this work examines the coexistence of just pairs of competitors. This approach ignores those mechanisms of coexistence that emerge only in diverse competitive networks. Despite the potential for these mechanisms to create conditions under which the loss of one competitor triggers the loss of others, we lack the knowledge needed to judge their importance for coexistence in nature. Progress requires borrowing insight from the study of multitrophic interaction networks, and coupling empirical data to models of competition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-64
Number of pages9
JournalNature
Volume546
Issue number7656
DOIs
StatePublished - May 31 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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