Biological Invasions

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 359–368

Competitive exclusion after invasion?

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10530-007-9135-8

Cite this article as:
Bøhn, T., Amundsen, PA. & Sparrow, A. Biol Invasions (2008) 10: 359. doi:10.1007/s10530-007-9135-8


The ‘Competitive Exclusion Principle’ is a foundation stone in the understanding of interspecific competition and niche relationships between species. In spite of having the status of a biological law, the principle has limited empirical support. In this study, we document strong effects of competition from the invading fish species vendace Coregonus albula over a 14-year period in the sub-arctic Pasvik watercourse. The native d.r. whitefish, that shared food and habitat niche with the invader, was displaced from its original niche and showed a more than 90% decline in population density over the study period. The study thus provides a unique record of how an exotic fish species excludes a native species from its original niche. Our data support the competitive exclusion principle, but also indicate that the vulnerability of the inferior competitor depends on a lack of alternative resources and on indirect ecological interactions.


Community structureCompetitive exclusionIntroduced exotic speciesLong-term empirical dataResource limitation

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Bøhn
    • 1
  • Per-Arne Amundsen
    • 2
  • Ashley Sparrow
    • 3
  1. 1.Norwegian Institute of Gene EcologyThe Science ParkTromso Norway
  2. 2.Norwegian College of Fishery ScienceUniversity of TromsøTromso Norway
  3. 3.Department of Natural Resources and Environmental ScienceUniversity of NevadaRenoUSA