Stage-specific predator species help each other to persist while competing for a single prey
2008 (English)In: Proceedings from the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, ISSN 0027-8424, EISSN 1091-6490, Vol. 105, no 37, 13930-13935 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Prey in natural communities are usually shared by many predator species. How predators coexist while competing for the same prey is one of the fundamental questions in ecology. Here we show that competing predator species may not only coexist on a single prey but even help each other to persist, if they specialize on different life history stages of the prey. By changing the prey size distribution a predator species may in fact increase the amount of prey available for its competitor. Surprisingly, a predator may even not be able to persist at all unless its competitor is also present. The competitor thus increases significantly the range of conditions for which a particular predator can persist. This “emergent facilitation” is a long-term, population-level effect that results from asymmetric increases in the rate of prey maturation and reproduction when predation relaxes competition among prey. Emergent facilitation explains observations of correlated increases of predators on small and large conspecific prey as well as concordance in their distribution patterns. Our results suggest that emergent facilitation may promote the occurrence of complex, stable community food webs and that persistence of these communities could critically depend on diversity within predator guilds.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Washington, USA: The National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 2008. Vol. 105, no 37, 13930-13935 p.
emergent facilitation, food-dependent prey developmentpredator coexistence, prey stage, stage-specific predation
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-11414DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0803834105OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-11414DiVA: diva2:151085
Published online before print September 8, 2008, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0803834105 Free via Open Access: OA
This research was supported by grants from the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning to L.P. T.S. was supported by the Lake Ecosystem Response to Environmental Change (LEREC) project. 2009-01-082009-01-082010-05-03Bibliographically approved