Unstable predator–prey dynamics permits the coexistence of generalist and specialist predators, and the maintenance of partial preferences

In: Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution
View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Biology, University of Florida
  • 2 Department of Biology, University of Florida
  • 3 Department of Biology, University of Florida

Saturating functional responses are a unifying principle in ecology, influencing processes at organizational levels from dietary specialization in individuals, to population instability, to community-level indirect interactions among alternative prey. These effects are interrelated. We explore a predator–prey model and demonstrate that unstable dynamics promote coexistence of specialist and generalist predators, when the specialist attacks only high-quality prey, and the generalist attacks high- and low-quality prey (that alone cannot maintain the predator). Coexisting specialist and generalist predators are vulnerable to invasion and replacement by predators with fixed partial preferences. The evolutionarily stable partial preference increases with increasing dynamic instability, but typically declines with increasing abundance of the low-quality prey. Coexisting specialist and generalist consumers, or partial preferences, typically reduce the potential for poor-quality prey to indirectly benefit high-quality prey. We suggest that dynamic instability may also contribute to the evolutionary maintenance of seemingly maladaptive oviposition choices by insect parasitoids.

  • Abrams PA.2002. Will small population sizes warn us of impending extinctions? Am. Nat. 160:293305.

  • Abrams PA, , Holt RD. 2002. The impact of consumer–resource cycles on the coexistence of competing consumers. Theor. Pop. Biol. 62:281296.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Armstrong RA.1988. The effects of disturbance patch size on species coexistence. J. Theor. Biol. 133:169184.

  • Armstrong RA, , McGehee R. 1980. Competitive exclusion. Am. Nat. 115:151170.

  • Berec L, , Krivan V. 2000. A mechanistic model for partial preferences. Theor. Pop. Biol. 58:279291.

  • Chesson P.2000. Mechanisms of maintenance of species diversity. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 31:343366.

  • Fryxell JM., Lundberg P.1998. Individual behavior and community dynamics. London: Chapman & Hall.

  • Gilpin M.1975. Group selection in predator–prey communities. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press.

  • Gleeson SK, , Wilson DS. 1986. Equilibrium diet: optimal foraging and prey coexistence. Oikos. 46:139144.

  • Hassell MP.1978. The dynamics of arthropod predator–prey systems. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press.

  • Heimpel GE, , Neuhauser C, , Hoogendoorn M. 2003. Effects of parasitoid fecundity and host resistance on indirect interactions among hosts sharing a parasitoid. Ecol. Lett. 6:556566.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holling CS.1959. Some characteristics of simple types of predation and parasitism. Can. Ent. 91:385398.

  • Holt RD.1977. Predation, apparent competition, and the structure of prey communities. Theor. Pop. Biol. 12:197229.

  • Holt RD.1983. Optimal foraging and the form of the predator isocline. Am. Nat. 122:521541.

  • Holt RD., 1997. Community modules. In: Gange AC, , Brown VK, editors. Multitrophic Interactions in Terrestrial Ecosystems, 36th Symposium of the British Ecological Society. Oxford: Blackwell Science; p. 333349.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holt RD, , Lawton JH. 1994. The ecological consequences of shared natural enemies. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 25:495520.

  • Janssen A.1989. Optimal host selection by Drosophila parasitoids in the field. Funct. Ecol. 3:469479.

  • Krivan V.2003. Competitive co-existence caused by adaptive predators. Evol. Ecol. Res. 5:11631182.

  • Krivan V.2010. Evolutionary stability of optimal foraging: partial preferences in the diet and patch models. J. Theor. Biol. 267:486494.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Krivan V, , Schmitz OJ. 2003. Adaptive foraging and flexible food web topology. Evol. Ecol. Res. 5:623652.

  • Ma BO, , Abrams PA, , Brassil CE. 2003. Dynamical versus instantaneous models of diet choice. Am. Nat. 162:668684.

  • May RM.1974. Stability and complexity in model ecosystems. 2nd ed. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press.

  • Minkenberg OPJM, , Tatar M, , Rosenheim JA. 1992. Egg load as a major source of variability in insect foraging and oviposition behavior. Oikos. 65:134142.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Murdoch WW, , Briggs CJ, , Nisbet RM. 2003. Consumer–resource dynamics. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press.

  • Murdoch WW, , Oaten A. 1975. Predation and population stability. Adv. Ecol. Res. 9:1131.

  • Core R. 2004. R: a language and environment for statistical computing [Internet]. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Available from: http://www.R-project.org.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roitberg BD., 2000. Threats, flies and protocol gaps: can evolutionary ecology save biological control? In: Hochberg ME, , Ives AR, editors. Parasitoid population biology. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press; p. 235253.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rosenzweig ML, , MacArthur RH. 1963. Graphical representation and stability condition of predator-prey interactions. Am. Nat. 97:209223.

  • Schoener TW.1971. Theory of feeding strategies. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 2:369404.

  • Seger J, , Brockmann HJ, . 1987. What is bet-hedging? In: Harvey PH, , Partridge L, editors. Oxford surveys in evolutionary biology. New York: Oxford University Press; p. 182211.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Setzer RW.2004. Odesolve: solvers for ordinary differential equations. R package version 0.5-10.

  • Stephens DW, , Krebs JR. 1986. Foraging theory. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press.

  • Turchin P.2003. Complex population dynamics. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press.

  • Wilson HB, , Hassell MP, , Godfray HCJ. 1996. Host–parasitoid food webs: dynamics, persistence, and invasion. Am. Nat. 148:787806.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 31 20 3
Full Text Views 10 1 0
PDF Downloads 5 2 0