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Temporally fluctuating prey and interfering predators: a positive feedback

  • Anders Nilsson
  • G D Ruxton
Publishing year: 2004
Language: English
Pages: 159-165
Publication/Series: Animal Behaviour
Volume: 68
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd

Abstract english

Prey densities often show fluctuating patterns over various timescales. Focusing on short-term, within-generation fluctuating patterns of local prey availability, we suggest that prey that show synchronized and high-amplitude fluctuations in availability experience decreased risks of predation, but also enhance the maintenance of predator interference hierarchies by affecting the relative foraging success of unequal conspecific interferers. When predators interfere with each other, they forage less intensely on prey, which benefits prey in terms of decreased predation risk. The system hence involves a positive feedback. We thus argue that short-term temporal fluctuations in local prey availability could be an important mechanism behind how interference-structured social predator systems are developed and sustained. The temporal fluctuations also have implications for the phenotypic diversity of predators, and may be involved in speciation processes.


  • Ecology


  • ISSN: 1095-8282
Anders Nilsson
E-mail: anders [dot] nilsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Division aquatic ecology

+46 46 222 83 65

+46 70 346 25 66




Aquatic Ecology


Research group

Aquatic Ecology


Doctoral students and postdocs

Main supervisor

Varpu Pärssinen

Assistant supervisor

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