Adaptive dynamics of mutual predation

Section Population Biology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Reinier Hille Ris Lambers

Reinier Hille Ris Lambers

Organisms within food webs frequently do not conform to classic, simple, roles such as predator, prey or competitor. A good example is the following greenhouse food web in which two predatory mites (N. cucumeris and I. degenerans) have mixed strategies. They are able to feed (and subsist) on plant pollen, as well as on each other's larvae. As a result of these mixed strategies they are both predator and prey, as well as competitors for a shared resource. I am studying whether co-evolution of these two antagonists will lead towards either 1) simple unmixed strategies and thus towards classic linear food chains, or 2) towards mixed strategies and thus more complex food webs. I hope to shed some light under what conditions; if at all, these two scenarios are possible. Results from this study will be important to food web theory in that understanding the evolutionary stability of these food web configurations may help us in understanding how food webs may have evolved, and where they may evolve to.

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Last edited: 09 May 2016

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