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Data from: Effects of intraspecific phenotypic variation on species coexistence

Cite this dataset

Hausch, Stephen; Vamosi, Steven M.; Fox, Jeremy W. (2019). Data from: Effects of intraspecific phenotypic variation on species coexistence [Dataset]. Dryad.


Intraspecific variation can promote or inhibit species coexistence, both by increasing species' competitive abilities, and by altering the relative strengths of intraspecific and interspecific competition. Effects of intraspecific variation on coexistence can occur via complementarity of different variants, and via a selection effect: initially-variable populations are more likely to contain highly competitive variants that might determine the competitive ability of the population as a whole. We tested the effects of intraspecific variation and composition on coexistence by assaying the mutual invasibility of populations of two competing bean weevil species (Callosobruchus maculatus and C. chinensis) when each was initiated with one, three, or five genetically- and phenotypically-distinct lineages. Our results reveal that intraspecific variation is a double-edged sword for species coexistence. Increasing intraspecific variation increased species' abilities to invade, and to resist invasion, via selection effects and intraspecific niche complementarity among conspecific lineages, thereby creating the potential for exclusion among mismatched competitors. But intraspecific variation also increased the scope for resource partitioning, creating the potential for stable coexistence. Stable coexistence occurred only when intraspecific variation caused species to exhibit both relatively evenly-matched competitive abilities and sufficiently-strong resource partitioning. Our work explains the conflicting results of previous studies.

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