Reproductive interference is any interspecific sexual interaction that reduces the reproductive success of females through promiscuous reproductive activities of heterospecific individuals. This phenomenon is ubiquitous in nature in both plants and animals, and is frequently observed in biological invasions. However, its effects on interspecific competition remain incompletely understood despite growing concern. To study the interactive effects of resource competition and reproductive interference on species coexistence and exclusion, we analyzed a unified competition model including both processes in symmetric and asymmetric scenarios. The results of our model showed that resource competition and reproductive interference act synergistically to promote competitive exclusion. We also found that when the two processes are asymmetric, the species that is superior in reproductive interference can coexist with or even exclude the species that is superior in resource competition. Therefore, coexistence is possible via an unbalanced trade-off between resource use and reproduction. Our results suggest that integration of reproductive interference and resource competition will contribute to a better understanding of interspecific competition and to more effective biodiversity conservation against management of biological invasions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics