Consequences of variation in foraging success among predators on numerical response
Article first published online: 17 SEP 2013
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Ecology and Evolution
Volume 3, Issue 11, pages 4039–4043, October 2013
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How to Cite
Ecology and Evolution 2013; 3(11): 4039–4043
- Issue published online: 9 OCT 2013
- Article first published online: 17 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 20 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 13 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Received: 7 JUN 2013
- National Science Council of Taiwan. Grant Numbers: 99-2628-B-002-051-MY3, 102-2311-B-002-038-MY3
- functional response;
- individual variation;
- Jensen's inequality;
- numerical response.
The relationship between foraging success and reproduction is commonly assumed to be linear in theoretical investigations. Although the exact relationship (e.g., linear or nonlinear) does not influence qualitative conclusions of models under some assumptions, an inclusion of individual behavioral variation can make it otherwise due to Jensen's inequality. In particular, a mechanism that stabilizes food web dynamics is generated when two conditions are satisfied: (1) the reproduction of predators experiences diminishing returns from foraging success (i.e., concave down relationship between foraging success and reproduction) and (2) foraging success variation among predator individuals increases with the predator density. However, empirical results that confirm these conditions are scarce. This study describes the mechanism as a hypothesis for stability and discusses some important considerations for empirical verifications of the mechanism.