Role of tolerance to resource demand - supply mismatch in a model of annual plants
We propose and discuss a simulation model of annual plants competing for a single resource. Plants are characterised by their tolerance to a surplus of this resource and the maximum number of seeds a plant can produce in a year. Interaction among plants is reduced to blocking a part of the resource by the plant’s nearest neighbours. Spatial and temporal conditions are homogeneous. There are no trade-off mechanisms nor immigrants. Plants may suffer from both a lack and too much of the resource. We consider two systems - plants of one type (target plants) and a mixture of two types, where the second type differs from the target ones only by the tolerance to surplus of the resource. We show how the life cycle of a plant depends on its tolerance, on supply of the resource and on how it is affected by the presence of the second type of annuals. We demonstrate that even in such a simple system coexistence of the two species is possible, and we determine the conditions for this. We present also a mean field type approach to the problem, showing that the results from simulations and mean field are quite similar. However the mean field approach cannot answer questions concerning spatial arrangement of plants, like possible formation of niches for different types of plant.
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