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Interspecific Competition: the Lotka-Volterra Model

Author(s): Lou Gross1, Monica Beals1, Susan Harrell1

University of Tennessee Knoxville

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This module introduces the Lotka-Volterra Model in the context of understanding interspecific competition. It is intended for an introductory biology audience.

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 15 Feb 2019 doi:10.25334/Q4943N - cite this


Student Introduction: Interspecific competition refers to the competition between two or more species for some limiting resource. This limiting resource can be food or nutrients, space, mates, nesting sites-- anything for which demand is greater than supply. When one species is a better competitor, interspecific competition negatively influences the other species by reducing population sizes and/or growth rates, which in turn affects the population dynamics of the competitor. The Lotka-Volterra model of interspecific competition is a simple mathematical model that can be used to understand how different factors affect the outcomes of competitive interactions.

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