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The Role of Scarcity in Density Regulation By Intraspecific Competition in Animal Populations

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

Competition occurs when a number of animals utilize common resources, whose supply is short. The significance of this shortness or scarcity for density regulation of a population undergoing intraspecific competition is compared in four simple models for different types of competition: contest, scramble, intermediate, and in the presence of less favourable and attractive alternative resources. Scarcity can be understood as the condition that the resources are insufficient to fulfil the needs of all competitors. In that case it only opens the door for density regulation. If it is conceived as a quantitativc measure of the availability of a resource, it determines the upper limit, and under stable conditions the stable level, of the population density. Only if it is considered as a measure relative to other less favourable resources, it influences the intensity of density regulation. However, this relationships tends to be negative because alternative resources keep competitors from competition.

Affiliations: 1: (Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, P.O. Box 59, Den Burg, Texel, The Netherlands


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