Movement behaviour determines competitive outcome and spread rates in strongly heterogeneous landscapes

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Maciel, Gabriel Andreguetto [UNESP]
Lutscher, Frithjof
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Classical models for biological invasions were single-species models in homogeneous landscapes, but most invasions happen in the presence of interacting species and in heterogeneous environments. The combination of spatial variation and species interaction could alter the spreading process significantly. For example, the ‘environmental heterogeneity hypothesis of invasions’ posits that heterogeneity offers more opportunities for invaders and reduces the negative impact on native species. Environmental heterogeneity offers an obvious coexistence mechanism on the regional scale if two or more competing species have different spatial niches, i.e. if the local competitive advantage changes in space. We consider a more subtle mechanism of space use through individual movement behaviour when the local competitive advantage remains with the same species. Specifically, we model the densities of two species, diffusing and competing in an infinite landscape consisting of two types of patches. We include individual behaviour in terms of movement rate and patch preference. We consider the scenario that one of the species is the stronger local competitor in both patch types. We then uncover a number of mechanisms—based solely on movement behaviour—through which these two species can coexist regionally, how the inferior competitor can replace the superior competitor globally, or how a bistable situation can arise between the two. We calculate mutual invasion conditions as well as mutual spatial spread rates, and we show that spread rates may depend on movement parameters in unexpected ways.
Competition, Homogenization, Movement behaviour, Patchy landscapes, Reaction-diffusion equations
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Theoretical Ecology, v. 11, n. 3, p. 351-365, 2018.