Lotka–Volterra equations

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Mathematical models of competition between resource-limited species living in the same space with the same environ-mental requirements. They have been modified subsequently to simulate simple predator–prey interactions. The competition model predicts that coexistence of such species populations is impossible: one is always eliminated, as was verified experimentally by G. F. Gause. The predation model predicts cyclic fluctuations of predator and prey populations. Reduction of predator numbers allows prey to recuperate, which in turn stimulates the population growth of the predator. Increasing predator numbers depress the prey population, leading eventually to a reduction in the predator population. This was also tested experimentally by Gause (1934) and more recently and more convincingly by S. Utida (1950, 1957). See also competitive exclusion principle.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation — Plant Sciences and Forestry.

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