Mathematicians show how beetles can share a niche

New equations help solve decades-old puzzle of why one species doesn’t always outcompete another

By Patrick Barry, 12:34 PM January 6, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Placing two species of flour beetle in the same jar of flour needn't always result in one species driving the other to extinction, as ecologists have thought. A new mathematical model presented January 5 at the annual Joint Mathematics Meetings shows how sometimes these two competing species can coexist.

The new research raises questions about a common assumption in ecology, the idea that only one species can survive in a specific ecological niche. Like similar species of...

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