Graphic: Results of a discrete-time simulation with two competitors having a shared predator. Exercise for the reader: which trace is the predator?
Warning: wonkish. Of interest primarily to those who teach upper-level ecology courses.
I don’t have an important message today, or a big unresolved question to talk about. I just thought I’d share some teaching resources. If you teach ecology (past the introductory level), you may find this useful.
One of the major themes in my 3rd-year population ecology course is the diversity of population dynamics that can emerge even in fairly simple systems: extinction, stable equilibrium, damped oscillations, stable limit cycles, neutral cycles, chaos, and so on. We spend a lot of time on the kinds of ecology that tend to favour oscillations (things like time lags and enemy-victim interactions) as opposed to those that tend to favour stable equilibria (things like immediate density-dependence and, under some circumstances, interspecific competition). Continue reading