Instability of a hybrid module of antagonistic and mutualistic interactions

Akihiko Mougi, Michio Kondoh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Mutualistic and antagonistic interactions coexist in nature. However, little is understood about their relative roles and interactive effects on multispecies coexistence. Here, using a three-species population dynamics model of a resource species, its exploiter, and a mutualist species, we show that a mixture of different interaction types may lead to dynamics that differ completely from those of the isolated interacting pairs. More specifically, a combination of globally stable antagonistic and mutualistic subsystems can lead to unstable population oscillations, suggesting the potential difficulty in the coexistence of antagonism and mutualism. Mutualism-induced instability arises from the indirect positive effect of mutualism on the exploiter. Furthermore, for a three-species system with a stronger mutualistic interaction to persist stably, a weaker antagonistic interaction is required. Network studies of communities composed of one type of interaction may not capture the dynamics of natural communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-263
Number of pages7
JournalPopulation Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Mathematical model
  • Mutualism
  • Population cycle
  • Predator-prey
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Instability of a hybrid module of antagonistic and mutualistic interactions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this