How ecosystem biodiversity is maintained remains a persistent question in the field of ecology. Here, I present a new coexistence theory, i.e. diversity of biological rhythm. Circadian, circalunar and circannual rhythms, which control short- and long-term activities, are identified as universal phenomena in organisms. Analysis of a theoretical food web with diel, monthly and annual cycles in foraging activity for each organism shows that diverse biological cycles play key roles in maintaining complex communities. Each biological rhythm does not have a strong stabilizing effect independently but enhances community persistence when combined with other rhythms. Biological rhythms also mitigate inherent destabilization tendencies caused by food web complexity. Temporal weak interactions due to hybridity of multiple activity cycles play a key role toward coexistence. Polyrhythmic changes in biological activities in response to the Earth's rotation may be a key factor in maintaining biological communities.
the Royal Society
Faculty of Life and Environmental Science