Introduction

The essence of interspecific competition is that individuals of one species suffer a reduction in fecundity, growth or survivorship as a result of resource exploitation or interference by individuals of another species. This competition is likely to affect the population dynamics of the competing species, and the dynamics, in their turn, can influence the species' distributions and their evolution. Of course, evolution, in its turn, can influence the species' distributions and dynamics. Here, we concentrate on the effects of competition on populations of species, whilst Chapter 19 examines the role of interspecific competition (along with predation and parasitism) in shaping the structure of ecological communities. There are several themes introduced in this chapter that are taken up and discussed more fully in Chapter 20. The two chapters should be read together for a full coverage of interspecific competition.

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