Classical and resource-based competition: a unifying graphical approach
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A graphical technique is given for determining the outcome of two species competition for two resources. This method is unifying in the sense that the graphical criterion leading to the various outcomes of competition are consistent across most of the spectrum of resource types (from those that fulfill the same growth needs to those that fulfill different needs) regardless of the classification method used, and the resulting graphs bear a striking resemblance to the well-known phase portraits for two species Lotka-Volterra competition. Our graphical method complements that of Tilman. Both include zero net growth isoclines. However, instead of using the consumption vectors at potential coexistence equilibria to determine input resource concentrations leading to specific competitive outcomes, we introduce curves bounding the feasible set (the set where the resource concentrations of any equilibrium solution must be located). The washout equilibrium (corresponding to the supply point) occurs at an intersection of curves defining the feasible set boundary. The resource concentrations of all other equilibria are found where zero net growth isoclines either intersect each other inside the feasible set or they intersect the feasible set boundary. A species has positive biomass at such an equilibrium only if its zero net growth isocline is involved in such an intersection. The competitive outcomes are then determined from the position of the single species equilibria, just as in the phase portrait analysis for classical competition (rather than from information at potential coexistence equilibria as in Tilman's method).
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