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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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Ecological Consequences

Ecological Consequences

(p.133) 6 Ecological Consequences
Evolution's Wedge

David W. Pfennig

Karin S. Pfennig

University of California Press

Character displacement fosters species coexistence by promoting differences between species in resource use (resource partitioning) and in reproductive traits (reproductive partitioning). By promoting niche differences, character displacement lessens costly competitive interactions, reduces the risks of competitive or reproductive exclusion, and thereby increases the chances of species coexistence and diversity within communities. Beyond its effects on species coexistence, character displacement has the further potential to alter population dynamics, extinction risk, and, concomitantly, species’ ranges. Studying character displacement can therefore reveal how the fitness consequences of interactions between species potentially translate into large-scale patterns of species richness, distributions, and diversity. Thus, the study of character displacement provides a unifying framework for understanding the maintenance, abundance, and distribution of biodiversity.

Keywords:   geographical mosaics, niche differences, reproductive partitioning, resource partitioning, species coexistence, species’ ranges, species richness

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