Theoretical Ecology

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 395–404 | Cite as

Forcing by rare species and intransitive loops creates distinct bouts of extinction events conditioned by spatial pattern in competition communities

  • John VandermeerEmail author
Original Paper


Using a spatially explicit multiple species competition framework, the pattern of extinction for an effect/response competition cellular automata model is presented. It is found that, for a particular matrix with a negative row/column sum covariance, (1) there are two phases of transient behavior, presented in the framework of graph partitioning, and (2) the ultimate behavior of the system in space can be understood as mainly the operation of three distinct intransitive competitive loops. Of particular interest is the effect that a set of initially excluded species have on the final outcome of spatial pattern formation. Even though initial exclusion happens quite rapidly, and it would seem that species excluded early could not have an effect on the eventual outcomes of competition, there is a clear statistical effect, contributing to the extant literature suggesting that rare or seemingly inconsequential species can effect the behavior of the common and obvious ones.


Spatial competition Cellular automata Transients 

Supplementary material

12080_2012_175_MOESM1_ESM.xls (32 kb)
ESM 1 (XLS 31 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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