A discrete/continuous time resource competition model and its implications

Glenn Ledder, Richard Rebarber, Terrance Pendleton, Amanda Laubmeier, Jonathan Weisbrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use a mixed time model to study the dynamics of a system consisting of two consumers that reproduce only in annual birth pulses, possibly at different times, with interaction limited to competition for a resource that reproduces continuously. Ecological theory predicts competitive exclusion; this expectation is met under most circumstances, the winner being the species with the greater ‘power’, defined as the time average consumer level at the fixed point. Instability of that fixed point for the stronger competitor slightly weakens its domination, so that a resident species with an unstable fixed point can sometimes be invaded by a slightly weaker species, leading ultimately to coexistence. Differences in birth pulse times can lead to qualitatively different long-term coexistence behaviour, including cycles of different lengths or chaos. We also determine conditions under which the timing of an annual pulse of a toxin can change the balance of power.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Biological Dynamics
StatePublished - Dec 2020


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