Ecological Research

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 29–40

A new index of interspecific competition for replacement and additive designs

Original Articles

DOI: 10.1046/j.1440-1703.2001.00368.x

Cite this article as:
Williams, A. & McCarthy, B. Ecol Res (2001) 16: 29. doi:10.1046/j.1440-1703.2001.00368.x

The literature is reviewed to summarize the major indices of interspecific competition used in De Wit replacement experiments. Of the many indices that have been defined, some are less than clear as to their meaning, so interpretations are often difficult to make. In an effort to explore the performance of individual indices and to permit cross-correlation among indices, a series of hypothetical results in different competition scenarios is created. A standardized notation for all indices is also provided, along with equations and proofs. Nine indices are reviewed and analyzed for their behavior under the hypothetical scenarios and a new index that provides increased clarification and interpretability over other indices is proposed. Relative Yield Total, Aggressivity, and Relative Replacement Rate were shown to be poor measures of competition. Relative Crowding Coefficient has many restrictions to its use. The clearest index that includes two or more species is Relative Yield of Mixture. Indices that describe single species accurately were found to be Relative Yield (RY) and Relative Competition Intensity (RCI), both of which are mathematically convertible. An index introduced here, Change in Contribution (CC), is a single species index that differs from RY and RCI because it takes into account the overall biomass each species contributes.

Key words

aggressivity mixture monoculture relative yield 

Copyright information

© Blackwell Science Asia Pty. Ltd. 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Plant BiologyOhio UniversityAthens OHUSA