How many species can two essential resources support?

Bingtuan Li, Hal Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


A chemostat model of n species of microorganisms competing for two perfectly complementary, growth-limiting nutrients is considered. Sufficient conditions are given for there to be a single winning species and for two species to coexist, driving the others to extinction. In the case when n = 3, it is shown that every solution converges to one of the single-species or two-species steady states, and hence the dynamics of the model is completely-determined. The results generalize those of Hsu, Cheng, and Hubbell [SIAM J. Appl. Math., 41 (1981), pp. 422-444] as well as Butler and Wolkowicz [Math. Biosci., 83 (1987), pp. 1-48] who considered two species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-366
Number of pages31
JournalSIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Chemostat
  • Coexistence
  • Competition for two resources
  • Competitive exclusion principle
  • Competitive system
  • Global asymptotic behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics


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