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Bauer, Marianne; Frey, Erwin (2018): Delays in Fitness Adjustment Can Lead to Coexistence of Hierarchically Interacting Species. In: Physical Review Letters, Vol. 121, No. 26, 268101
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Organisms that exploit different environments may experience a stochastic delay in adjusting their fitness when they switch habitats. We study two such organisms whose fitness is determined by the species composition of the local environment, as they interact through a public good. We show that a delay in the fitness adjustment can lead to the coexistence of the two species in a metapopulation, although the faster-growing species always wins in well-mixed competition experiments. Coexistence is favored over wide parameter ranges and is independent of spatial clustering. It arises when species are heterogeneous in their fitness and can keep each other balanced.