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Evolution's WedgeCompetition and the Origins of Diversity$
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David W. Pfennig and Karin S. Pfennig

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520274181

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520274181.001.0001

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Why Character Displacement Occurs

Why Character Displacement Occurs

(p.29) 2 Why Character Displacement Occurs
Evolution's Wedge

David W. Pfennig

Karin S. Pfennig

University of California Press

Resource competition is common in nature and is often strong. Additionally, heterospecifics frequently interact in ways that impede ability of each species to reproduce successfully. Both types of competitive interactions can have severe fitness costs. Indeed, in some cases, competition can even cause a species to go locally extinct. As a consequence, selection should generally favor resource-use or reproductive traits that enable individuals to obtain resources or to successfully reproduce in the face of interspecific competition. Character displacement thereby leads to resource and reproductive partitioning that fosters species coexistence. Although character displacement is not the only means by which partitioning arises or by which species coexist, character displacement can contribute to diversity in important ways.

Keywords:   competition, competitive exclusion, reproductive exclusion, reproductive partitioning, resource competition, resource partitioning, species coexistence

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