In nature, a large number of species can coexist on a small number of shared resources; however, resource-competition models predict that the number of species in steady coexistence cannot exceed the number of resources. Motivated by recent studies of phytoplankton, we introduce trade-offs into a resource-competition model and find that an unlimited number of species can coexist. Our model spontaneously reproduces several notable features of natural ecosystems, including keystone species and population dynamics and abundances characteristic of neutral theory, despite an underlying non-neutral competition for resources.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)