Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Understanding species coexistence has long been a major goal of ecology. Coexistence theory for two competing species posits that intraspecific density dependence should be stronger than interspecific density dependence. Great tits and blue tits are two bird species that compete for food resources and nesting cavities. On the basis of long-term monitoring of these two competing species at sites across Europe, combining observational and manipulative approaches, we show that the strength of density regulation is similar for both species, and that individuals have contrasting abilities to compete depending on their age. For great tits, density regulation is driven mainly by intraspecific competition. In contrast, for blue tits, interspecific competition contributes as much as intraspecific competition, consistent with asymmetric competition between the two species. In addition, including age-specific effects of intra- and interspecific competition in density-dependence models improves predictions of fluctuations in population size by up to three times.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/ele.13237

Type

Journal article

Journal

Ecol Lett

Publication Date

28/02/2019

Keywords

Cyanistes caeruleus , Parus major , Competitive interactions, density dependence, density regulation, population growth rate