Local dispersal promotes biodiversity in a real-life game of rock–paper–scissors

  title={Local dispersal promotes biodiversity in a real-life game of rock–paper–scissors},
  author={Benjamin Kerr and Margaret Riley and Marcus W. Feldman and Brendan J. M. Bohannan},
One of the central aims of ecology is to identify mechanisms that maintain biodiversity. Numerous theoretical models have shown that competing species can coexist if ecological processes such as dispersal, movement, and interaction occur over small spatial scales. In particular, this may be the case for non-transitive communities, that is, those without strict competitive hierarchies. The classic non-transitive system involves a community of three competing species satisfying a relationship… 
Mobility promotes and jeopardizes biodiversity in rock–paper–scissors games
It is established that this phenomenon is robust; it does not depend on the details of cyclic competition or spatial environment, and are relevant for the formation and propagation of patterns in microbial populations or excitable media.
Competition in Well-Mixed Habitats: From Competitive Exclusion to Competitive Chaos
Until today, the overwhelming species diversity of many ecosystems, including rainforests and coral reefs, remains a fascinating mystery, which we have only just begun to unravel. The processes that
It is experimentally showed that biotic interactions have a predictable, deterministic impact on zooplankton community structure in a metacommunity of highly interconnected shallow ponds and showed that dispersal had an influence on community structure and species richness.
Reduction of species coexistence through mixing in a spatial competition model
This model considers the effects of various levels of mixing on species diversity, in the context of various network structures as measured by the covariance of row and column sums of the competition matrix, and shows that greater species diversity is maintained under a positive covariance and that time to extinction in the model occurs much more rapidly under a negative covariance.
Using Traits to Assess Nontransitivity of Interactions among Coral Species
Simulations and experiments have shown that species coexistence can be maintained via nontransitive competition, of which a simple case is the rock-paper-scissors game. Reef-building corals exemplify
Speciation, Diversification, and Coexistence of Sessile Species That Compete for Space
A lattice model of multiple competing and evolving sessile species is proposed and it is shown that species that exist a long time tend to have a relatively small population, as this allows them to avoid encounter with competitive invaders.
Habitat loss alters effects of intransitive higher-order competition on biodiversity: a new metapopulation framework
A new, simple yet comprehensive metapopulation framework that can account for any competition pattern and more complex higher-order interactions (HOIs) among species is presented and provides a more parsimonious explanation for biodiversity maintenance than the existing theory.
Social Structure and the Maintenance of Biodiversity
This work investigates the dynamics of a 3-strategy nontransitive system in populations with different social structures and describes how extending the neighborhood of interactions in traditional lattice models diminishes a population’s ability to maintain diversity.
Spatial heterogeneity promotes coexistence of rock-paper-scissors metacommunities.
Co-occurring soil bacteria exhibit a robust competitive hierarchy and lack of non-transitive interactions
The network of pairwise competitive interactions in a model community consisting of 20 strains of naturally co-occurring soil bacteria is investigated and it is found that the interaction network is strongly hierarchical and lacks significant non-transitive motifs, a result that is robust across multiple environments.


Towards a solution of the plankton paradox : the importance of physiology and life history
It is concluded that physiological and life-history patterns have a major impact on the likelihood of nonequilibrium dynamics and on the biodiversity of plankton communities.
Species coexistence and self-organizing spatial dynamics
IN a patchy environment, dispersal between neighbouring local populations can allow the total (regional) population to persist1–5; even where all patches are identical and the within-patch dynamics
Mechanisms of Maintenance of Species Diversity
Stabilizing mechanisms are essential for species coexistence and include traditional mechanisms such as resource partitioning and frequency-dependent predation, as well as mechanisms that depend on fluctuations in population densities and environmental factors in space and time.
Biodiversity of plankton by species oscillations and chaos
This work shows that resource competition models can generate oscillations and chaos when species compete for three or more resources, and shows that these oscillation and chaotic fluctuations in species abundances allow the coexistence of many species on a handful of resources.
Competitive Networks: Nontransitive Competitive Relationships in Cryptic Coral Reef Environments
The existence of a competitive network on a particular substratum will serve to increase the length of time required for single species resource monopolization relative to the time required if a competitive hierarchy exists, assuming equivalent rates of overgrowth in both cases.
The rock–paper–scissors game and the evolution of alternative male strategies
MANY species exhibit colour polymorphisms associated with alternative male reproductive strategies, including territorial males and 'sneaker males' that behave and look like females1–3. The
Rock–scissors–paper and the survival of the weakest
  • Marcus Frean, E. Abraham
  • Economics
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 2001
This work considers a system with three species in a competitive loop and shows that this simple ecology exhibits two counter–intuitive phenomena, analogous to the tragedy of the commons, but here, rather than leading to a collapse, the ‘tragedy’ acts to maintain diversity.
Chemical warfare between microbes promotes biodiversity
It is suggested that antibiotic interactions within microbial communities may be very effective in maintaining diversity, based on a spatially explicit game theoretical model with multiply cyclic dominance structures.
The Geometry of Ecological Interactions: Simplifying Spatial Complexity
This volume, written by world experts in the field, gives detailed coverage of the main areas of development in spatial ecological theory, integrating a perspective from field ecology with novel methods for simplifying spatial complexity and offers a didactical treatment with a gradual increase in mathematical sophistication.
Spatial ecology : the role of space in population dynamics and interspecific interactions
The book aims to demonstrate that the spatial structure of a habitat can fundamentally alter both the qualitative and quantitative dynamics and outcomes of ecological processes.