Stability and Variability in Competitive Communities

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  15 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5439, pp. 542-544
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5439.542

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text


Long-term variability in the abundance of populations depends on the sensitivity of species to environmental fluctuations and the amplification of environmental fluctuations by interactions among species. Although competitive interactions and species number may have diverse effects on variability measured at the individual species level, a combination of theoretical analyses shows that these factors have no effect on variability measured at the community level. Therefore, biodiversity may increase community stability by promoting diversity among species in their responses to environmental fluctuations, but increasing the number and strength of competitive interactions has little effect.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: arives{at}

View Full Text