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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

Virus-bacteria coevolution solves diversity paradox by 'Killing the Winner'

There is remarkable biodiversity in all but the most extreme ecosystems on Earth. When many species are competing for the same finite resource, a theory called competitive exclusion suggests one species will outperform the others and drive them to extinction, limiting biodiversity. But this isn’t what we observe in nature. Theoretical models of population dynamics have not presented a fully satisfactory explanation for what has come to be known as the diversity paradox.

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