Metabolic Trade-Offs Promote Diversity in a Model Ecosystem

Anna Posfai, Thibaud Taillefumier, Ned S. Wingreen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number028103
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 12 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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