Longer term experiments

The most direct way of discovering the outcome of competition between two species in the laboratory, or under other controlled conditions, is to put them together and leave them to it. However, since even the most one-sided competition is likely to take a few generations (or a reasonable period of modular growth) before it is completed, this direct approach is easier, and has been more frequently used, in some species than in others. It has most frequently been applied to insects (such as the flour beetle example in Section 8.4.3) and microorganisms (such as the Paramecium example in Section 8.2.4). Note that neither higher plants, nor vertebrates, nor large invertebrates, lend themselves readily to this approach (although a plant example is discussed in Section 8.10.1). We must be aware that this may bias our view of the nature of interspecific competition.

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