Reinterpreting space, time lags, and functional responses in ecological models

M. J. Keeling, H. B. Wilson, S. W. Pacala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Natural enemy-victim interactions are of major applied importance and of fundamental interest to ecologists. A key question is what stabilizes these interactions, allowing the long-term coexistence of the two species. Three main theoretical explanations have been proposed: behavioral responses, time-dependent factors such as delayed density dependence, and spatial heterogeneity. Here, using the powerful moment-closure technique, we show a fundamental equivalence between these three elements. Limited movement by organisms is a ubiquitous feature of ecological systems, allowing spatial structure to develop; we show that the effects of this can be naturally described in terms of time lags or within-generation functional responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1758-1761
Number of pages4
Issue number5497
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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