Neutral competition boosts cycles and chaos in simulated food webs

Pablo Rodriguez Sanchez*, E.H. van Nes, M. Scheffer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Similarity of competitors has been proposed to facilitate coexistence of species because it slows down competitive exclusion, thus making it easier for equalizing mechanisms to maintain diverse communities. On the other hand, previous studies suggest that chaotic ecosystems can have a higher biodiversity. Here, we link these two previously unrelated findings, by analysing the dynamics of food web models. We show that near-neutrality of competition of prey, in the presence of predators, increases the chance of developing chaotic dynamics. Moreover, we confirm that chaotic dynamics correlate with a higher biodiversity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2020


  • biodiversity paradox
  • chaos
  • coexistence
  • competition
  • neutral competition


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