Sharp changes in resource availability may induce spatial nearly periodic population abundances

Adam Lampert, Alan Hastings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


For many years, scientists have tried to understand the ubiquitous discrete nature of traits. As the emergence of nonuniform patterns in space via instability of the uniform pattern to spatial perturbations is well-understood in reaction-diffusion systems, several studies have suggested that a similar instability underlies discrete distributions of traits. In contrast, here we suggest that a different mechanism may underly species' discrete distributions of trait values. We show that a point where niche availability changes sharply along the continuous niche axis promotes the discretized distribution of trait values even far from that point. In certain cases, this mechanism may apply also to patterns of population densities over space, such as patterns that were observed in vegetation biomass, as locations where environment changes sharply may promote spatially, nearly periodic stationary patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-83
Number of pages4
JournalEcological Complexity
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Character displacement
  • Community assembly
  • Self-organization
  • Species packing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecological Modeling


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