Competition, predation, and host-parasitoid interactions - the classical literature.

Here, the book by Gause (1934) is an indispensable reference (available online or as a reprint from Dover). The aim of this section is to look at the models of these three kinds of basic interaction in the simplest context. The models have been the foundation of much of theoretical ecology since their introduction, and by understanding the development we will prepare for much of what follows.

1  Competition

Here we emphasize both the initial development of the models, and the initial tests of the models. One major concept is the competitive exclusion principle. An outline of our general development is as follows.

2  Predation

Here the emphasis is on looking a the original Lotka-Volterra model and considering its justification, and how the approximations made by Lotka are appropriate over short time scales. We also examine Gause's experiments, and what the relationship is between models and experiment, and how this might suggest modifications to the theory. In general we aim to understand what allows, or does not allow coexistence of predator and prey. The original work by Gause led to the question of why one of the following outcomes does not occur: predator does not get enough food and starves, or predator consumes all the prey and starves. Gause gives some preliminary answers. What the real answer is to this question is still a central issue in ecology today (along with obvious extensions).

3  Host-Parasitoid Models

Here we examine the original Nicholson-Bailey model in great detail, paying attention to the assumptions of the model, and the kinds of conclusions which are drawn. Once again, the issue of what permits coexistence is key. Extensions of the core model in this paper have been central to the study of hosts and parasitoids ever since. Many of the potential mechanisms for coexistence are discussed in the classic paper you are asked to read. Additionally, many other interesting features of interactions among three or more species are discussed, and highlight how to extend the population approach to look at multiple species interactions.


This is a list that focuses on the classic work only, and primarily on books rather than papers.

* means required reading

* (5 & 6)Gause, G.F. 1934. The Struggle for Existence, New York: Hafner, 1934.

Gause, G.F. 1935. Verifications experimentales de la theorie mathematique de la lutte pour la vie.

Lotka, A.J. 1925. Elements of Physical Biology.

Nicholson, A.J. 1933. The balance of animal populations. Journal of Animal Ecology. 2: 132-178.

* (7) Nicholson, A.J., Bailey, V. The balance of animal populations. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 3:551-598.

Park, T. 1948. Experimental studies of interspecific competition: I. Competition between populations of the flour beetles Tribolium confusum and Tribolium castaneum. Ecological Monographs. 18:265-307.

Volterra, V. 1931. Lecons sur la Mathematique de la lutte pour la Vie. Paris: Marcel Brelot.

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