Evol Ecol Res 11: 371-380 (2009)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Scramble and contest competition, unequal resource allocation, and resource monopolization as determinants of population dynamics

Adam Łomnicki

Mammal Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland

Correspondence: A. Łomnicki, Mammal Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Waszkiewicza 1c, 17-230 Białowieża, Poland.
e-mail: adam.lomnicki@uj.edu.pl


Questions: How do unequal resource allocation, asymmetry, and resource monopolization each affect a population’s stability and persistence? How do they differ in their importance to stability and persistence? How may one define precisely the terms ‘scramble competition’ and ‘contest competition’? Might individual-based modelling help us to develop general population theory? Or is it useful only as a method of computer simulation in applied ecology?

Methods: Address the questions with the simplest pre-existing analytical models. Use generation-to-generation difference equations. Define scramble and contest competition according to them. Use models of pure scramble and contest competition and develop and analyse a model of competition in which individuals have abilities to monopolize resources that vary along a continuum. Relate the results to empirical data from field and laboratory studies.

Results: Equal resource allocation among population members prevents population stability and population persistence. If some population members monopolize the resources, both stability and persistence are guaranteed. The generation-to-generation difference equations permit one to define precisely a theoretical gradient of monopolization ranging from complete equality to full monopolization. In some cases, this gradient also permits both stability and persistence.

Keywords: population stability and persistence, resource monopolization, scramble and contest competition, unequal resource allocation.

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