|Succession in soft-bottom benthic environments: are pioneering species really outcompeted?|
Chesney, E.J. (1985). Succession in soft-bottom benthic environments: are pioneering species really outcompeted?, in: Gibbs, P.E. (Ed.) Proceedings of the 19th European Marine Biology Symposium, Plymouth, Devon, UK, 16-21 September 1984. pp. 277-285
In: Gibbs, P.E. (Ed.) (1985). Proceedings of the 19th European Marine Biology Symposium, Plymouth, Devon, UK, 16-21 September 1984. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-30294-3. 541 pp., more
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VLIZ: Proceedings 
|Document type: Conference paper|
Traditional views on succession in soft-bottom benthic communities cite competition as the driving force in the demise and eventual replacement of pioneering species. One drawback to this view is the lack of conclusive information demonstrating competitive displacement of pioneering species. Furthermore, recent laboratory studies of the population dynamics of the opportunistic species Capitella capitata demonstrated their inherent population instability, even under constant conditions. This instability has been attributed to characteristics common to all pioneering species, namely, high growth rate (r), short generation time, and lack of density-dependent characteristics to maintain stability (e.g. territoriality). These findings suggest that a version of the tolerance model of succession may best describe species transitions in soft-bottom benthic communities. This model states that the sequence of species observed during succession is determined solely by their life history characteristics. Thus, competitive interactions may be important in certain aspects of structuring communities but it is unnecessary to invoke competitive displacement as an explanation for the transition of species observed during pioneering stages of community development.