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Population dynamical consequences of gregariousness in a size-structured consumer–resource interaction
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Ecology and Environmental Science.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Ecology and Environmental Science.
2007 (English)In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 254, no 4, 763-774 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many animal species live in groups. Group living may increase exploitation competition within the group, and variation among groups in intra-group competition intensity could induce life-history variability among groups. Models of physiologically structured populations generally predict single generation cycles, driven by exploitation competition within and between generations. We expect that life-history variability and habitat heterogeneity induced by group living may affect such competition-driven population dynamics. In this study, we vary the gregariousness (the tendency to aggregate in groups) of a size-structured consumer population in a spatially explicit environment. The consumer has limited mobility, and moves according to a probabilistic movement process. We study the effects on the population dynamics, as mediated through the resource and the life-history of the consumer. We find that high gregariousness leads to large spatial resource variation, and highly variable individual life-history, resulting in highly stochastic population dynamics. At reduced gregariousness, life-history of consumers synchronizes, habitat heterogeneity is reduced, and single generation cycles appear. We expect this pattern to occur for any group living organism with limited mobility. Our results indicate that constraints set by population dynamical feedback may be an important aspect in understanding group living in nature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 254, no 4, 763-774 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-12193DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2006.12.011OAI: diva2:151864
Available from: 2007-03-26 Created: 2007-03-26 Last updated: 2011-01-11Bibliographically approved

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