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Fugitive coexistence mediated by evolutionary lag in local adaptation in metapopulation
Annales Zoologici Fennici
Extinction-recolonization dynamics is known to promote "fugitive coexistence" in patchy environments: a species that is an inferior competitor but a better colonizer may persist by exploiting the period between its colonization of a patch and the arrival of a superior competitor. Here I use a simple model to demonstrate the plausibility of a different type of fugitive coexistence. I show that, under some circumstances, a "jack of all trades" plastic species can persist despite competition from an adaptable species that has the genetic potential to adapt locally and outcompete the plastic species in every patch. This persistence can be mediated by two forces that impede local adaptation: gene flow and extinction-recolonization dynamics. In the latter case, the persistence of the plastic species is of a fugitive nature; however, it is not mediated by an earlier colonization. Rather, it relies on the fact that, following recolonization, the adaptable species is often locally maladapted. This opens a time window for the plastic species to multiple and produce propagules before the other species becomes locally adapted, and thus competitively superior.
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