Niche Differentiation and Coexistence in a Multi-resource Ecosystem with Competition
As a step towards modeling the evolution of food webs from an individual-based perspective, here we study the evolutionary dynamics of a simple multi-resource ecosystem model at the basal level of a food web. We combine two trade-off mechanisms in resource utilization (consumption abilities) and stoichiometric constraints (consumption needs) into a minimal model, and study the evolution of niche differentiation and coexistence through the interaction. Under a broad range of circumstances the model shows the emergence of specialization. By introducing stoichiometric constraints various evolutionary trajectories become possible but in this simple model we found no evidence for the coexistence of specialists and generalists.
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