Framework for analyzing ecological trait-based models in multidimensional niche spaces

Tommaso Biancalani, Lee Deville, Nigel Goldenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We develop a theoretical framework for analyzing ecological models with a multidimensional niche space. Our approach relies on the fact that ecological niches are described by sequences of symbols, which allows us to include multiple phenotypic traits. Ecological drivers, such as competitive exclusion, are modeled by introducing the Hamming distance between two sequences. We show that a suitable transform diagonalizes the community interaction matrix of these models, making it possible to predict the conditions for niche differentiation and, close to the instability onset, the asymptotically long time population distributions of niches. We exemplify our method using the Lotka-Volterra equations with an exponential competition kernel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number052107
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 7 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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