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Intraspecific competition affects the strength of individual specialization: an optimal diet theory method
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Ecology and Environmental Science.
2005 (English)In: Evolutionary Ecology Research, ISSN 1522-0613, Vol. 7, no 7, 993-1012 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Question: Why would individuals that inhabit the same environment choose to feed on different subsets of the available resources?

Mathematical method: We outline a flexible model that combines phenotypic variation with optimal diet theory and population dynamics. We then apply this model to investigate the role of different types of trade-offs. phenotype diversity and level of competition in determining the degree of individual specialization.

Key assumptions: The foragers in the model are omniscient and maximize energy intake per time unit.

Conclusion: Numerical simulations match empirical observations that changes in population density can alter the degree of individual specialization. Forager density and phenotypic variation affected prey densities. which in turn affected forager diet breadth and fitness (energy income). We propose that this feedback can explain the empirical relationship between forager density and the degree of individual specialization in the forager population.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 7, no 7, 993-1012 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-20673DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.0198OAI: diva2:209283
Available from: 2009-03-24 Created: 2009-03-24

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