Preprint available on intraspecific density dependence with mutualism paper

Today we posted our paper, Population dynamics of mutualism and intraspecific density dependence: how θ-logistic-like density dependence affects mutualistic positive feedback, on bioRxiv: link. Karen Abbott, Sam Catella, and I wrote this theoretical paper that studied how nonlinear intraspecific density dependence affects the Lotka-Volterra model of mutualism. In sum, we found that relaxing the logistic base of the Lotka-Volterra model allows for a more realistic model of mutualism by, in many cases, preventing the positive feedback that has haunted the Lotka-Volterra model since its inception.

I really like this paper for several reasons

  • I think the introduction concisely and fairly summarizes the history of the study mutualism population dynamics
  • It conftonts both of the simplifying assumptions of Lotka-Volterra mutualism models (linear intraspecific density dependence and linear funcational reponse to partner density) and argues that they are eqaully responsible for the failure of the model to blow up (grow without bounds)
  • I love Figure 2 as a conceptual figure
  • We find that as long as there is an accelerative increase in deaths or decrease in births (likely in the nautral world), that musutalism is not the unstable monster as it has been traditionally labled!

It’s my first real theory paper, so I am curious how it will be received by reviewers and the rest of the ecological community.

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