Complexity can enhance stability in competitive systems

I. D. Rozdilsky*, L. Stone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Empirical observations often indicate that complexity enhances stability, while most theoretical studies, such as May's (1972) classic paper, point to the opposite. Despite the wide generality of these latter theoretical analyses, our examination of the well-known competitive Lotka-Volterra system reveals that increasing complexity (measured in terms of connectance) can enhance species coexistence and persistence in model communities (measured in terms of their feasibility and stability). The high feasibility and stability found for tightly interconnected competitive subsystems might provide an explanation for the clumped structure in food webs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-400
Number of pages4
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Compartmentalization
  • Competition
  • Complexity vs. stability
  • Connectance
  • Lotka-Volterra systems


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