Topic of Master Thesis: Coexistence of Consumer Species by Self-Organised Pattern Formation in a System of Discrete Habitat Patches
I study the conditions for coexistence of consumer species with different competitive abilities and dispersal strategies in spatially extended ecosystems (so-called metacommunities). One consumer is the superior competitor for a local food resource, while the other can adaptively adjust its dispersal rate to account for local growth conditions. In a homogenous environment, where resource densities are the same on all patches, the adaptively dispersing consumer is always outcompeted. However, through a process called self-organised pattern formation, spatial heterogeneity in the resource densities can arise, which may enable the adaptive disperser to coexist with the superior competitor. This project is in the wider context of exploring mechanisms that maintain biodiversity in metacommunities.