Stability and distribution of predator-prey systems: Local and regional mechanisms and patterns

Adam Lampert, Alan Hastings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Explaining the coexistence and distribution of species in time and space remains a fundamental challenge. While species coexistence depends on both local and regional mechanisms, it is sometimes unclear which role each mechanism takes in a given ecosystem. Consequently, it is very hard to predict the response of the ecosystem to environmental changes. Here, we develop a model to study spatial patterns of coexistence, focusing on predator-prey and host-parasite populations. We show, both theoretically and empirically, that these systems may exhibit both local and regional patterns and mechanisms of coexistence. Changes in environmental parameters, such as spatial connectivity, may lead to a transition from regional to local coexistence or it may lead directly to extinction, depending on demographic parameters. This demonstrates the importance of simultaneously analysing interacting mechanisms that act at different spatial scales to understand the response of ecosystems to environmental changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-288
Number of pages10
JournalEcology letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Coexistence
  • Environmental change
  • Host-parasite
  • Local biodiversity
  • Predator-prey
  • Regional biodiversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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