Frequency-dependent community dynamics driven by sexual interactions

Masato Yamamichi*, Kaoru Tsuji, Shoko Sakai, Erik I. Svensson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Research in community ecology has tended to focus on trophic interactions (e.g., predation, resource competition) as driving forces of community dynamics, and sexual interactions have often been overlooked. Here we discuss how sexual interactions can affect community dynamics, especially focusing on frequency-dependent dynamics of horizontal communities (i.e., communities of competing species in a single ecological guild). By combining mechanistic and phenomenological models of competition, we place sexual reproduction into the framework of modern coexistence theory. First, we review how population dynamics of two species competing for two resources can be represented by the Lotka–Volterra competition model as well as frequency dynamics, and how niche differentiation and overlap produce negative and positive frequency-dependence (i.e., stable coexistence and priority effect), respectively. Then, we explore two situations where sexual interactions change the frequency-dependence in community dynamics: (1) reproductive interference, that is, negative interspecific interactions due to incomplete species recognition in mating trials, can promote positive frequency-dependence and (2) density-dependent intraspecific adaptation load, that is, reduced population growth rates due to adaptation to intraspecific sexual (or social) interactions, produces negative frequency-dependence. We show how reproductive interference and density-dependent intraspecific adaptation load can decrease and increase niche differences in the framework of modern coexistence theory, respectively. Finally, we discuss future empirical and theoretical approaches for studying how sexual interactions and related phenomena (e.g., reproductive interference, intraspecific adaptation load, and sexual dimorphism) driven by sexual selection and conflict can affect community dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-219
Number of pages16
JournalPopulation Ecology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

User-Defined Keywords

  • coexistence theory
  • competition
  • eco-evolutionary dynamics
  • intraspecific adaptation load
  • reproductive interference


Dive into the research topics of 'Frequency-dependent community dynamics driven by sexual interactions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this