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Though many processes are involved in determining which species coexist and assemble into communities, competition is among the best studied. One hypothesis about competition's contribution to community assembly is that more closely related species are less likely to coexist. Though empirical evidence for this hypothesis is mixed, it remains a common(More)
Ecologists now recognize that controversy over the relative importance of niches and neutrality cannot be resolved by analyzing species abundance patterns. Here, we use classical coexistence theory to reframe the debate in terms of stabilizing mechanisms (niches) and fitness equivalence (neutrality). The neutral model is a special case where stabilizing(More)
Although the impacts of exotic plant invasions on community structure and ecosystem processes are well appreciated, the pathways or mechanisms that underlie these impacts are poorly understood. Better exploration of these processes is essential to understanding why exotic plants impact only certain systems, and why only some invaders have large impacts.(More)
Natural populations consist of phenotypically diverse individuals that exhibit variation in their demographic parameters and intra- and inter-specific interactions. Recent experimental work indicates that such variation can have significant ecological effects. However, ecological models typically disregard this variation and focus instead on trait means and(More)
Ecological communities characteristically contain a wide diversity of species with important functional, economic and aesthetic value. Ecologists have long questioned how this diversity is maintained. Classic theory shows that stable coexistence requires competitors to differ in their niches; this has motivated numerous investigations of ecological(More)
Traditional conservation biology regards environmental fluctuations as detrimental to persistence, reducing long-term average growth rates and increasing the probability of extinction. By contrast, coexistence models from community ecology suggest that for species with dormancy, environmental fluctuations may be essential for persistence in competitive(More)
Nonhierarchical competition between species has been proposed as a potential mechanism for biodiversity maintenance, but theoretical and empirical research has thus far concentrated on systems composed of relatively few species. Here we develop a theory of biodiversity based on a network representation of competition for systems with large numbers of(More)
Although excessive loading of fine sediments into rivers is well known to degrade salmonid spawning habitat, its effects on rearing juveniles have been unclear. We experimentally manipulated fine bed sediment in a northern California river and examined responses of juvenile salmonids and the food webs supporting them. Increasing concentrations of deposited(More)
Understanding how species respond to climate change is critical for forecasting the future dynamics and distribution of pests, diseases and biological diversity. Although ecologists have long acknowledged species' direct physiological and demographic responses to climate, more recent work suggests that these direct responses can be overwhelmed by indirect(More)
Recent studies suggest that selection can allow coexistence in situations where ecological dynamics lead to competitive exclusion, provided that there is a trade-off between traits optimal for interacting with conspecifics and traits optimal for interacting with heterospecifics. Despite compelling empirical evidence, there is no general framework for(More)