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Empirical evidence of type III functional responses and why it remains rare
Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Berlin, Germany.
Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Frankfurt, Germany; Ecological Networks, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany.
School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska, NE, Lincoln, United States; Living Earth Collaborative, Washington University in St. Louis, MO, St. Louis, United States.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Berlin, Germany.
2023 (English)In: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, E-ISSN 2296-701X, Vol. 11, article id 1033818Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

More than 70 years after its introduction, the framework of resource density-dependent consumption rates, also known as predator-prey functional responses, remains a core concept in population and food web ecology. Initially, three types of responses were defined: linear (type I), hyperbolic (type II), and sigmoid (type III). Due to its potential to stabilize consumer-resource population dynamics, the sigmoid type III functional response immediately became a “holy grail” in population ecology. However, experimentally proving that type III functional responses exist, whether in controlled laboratory systems or in nature, was challenging. While theoretical and practical advances make identifying type III responses easier today, decades of research have brought only a limited number of studies that provide empirical evidence for type III response curves. Here, we review this evidence from laboratory- and field-based studies published during the last two decades. We found 107 studies that reported type III responses, but these studies ranged across various taxa, interaction types, and ecosystems. To put these studies into context, we also discuss the various biological mechanisms that may lead to the emergence of type III responses. We summarize how three different and mutually independent intricacies bedevil the empirical documentation of type III responses: (1) challenges in statistical modeling of functional responses, (2) inadequate resource density ranges and spacing, and (3) biologically meaningful and realistic design of experimental arenas. Finally, we provide guidelines on how the field should move forward based on these considerations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2023. Vol. 11, article id 1033818
Keywords [en]
biodiversity, chaos, filter feeder, food webs, population dynamics, predator-prey interactions, resource density, stability
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-206341DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2023.1033818ISI: 000951811900001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85150701097OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-206341DiVA, id: diva2:1753654
Available from: 2023-04-28 Created: 2023-04-28 Last updated: 2023-04-28Bibliographically approved

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Uszko, Wojciech

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