Document Detail

Internally driven alternation of functional traits in a multispecies predator-prey system.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20583716     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The individual functional traits of different species play a key role for ecosystem function in aquatic and terrestrial systems. We modeled a multispecies predator-prey system with functionally different predator and prey species based on observations of the community dynamics of ciliates and their algal prey in Lake Constance. The model accounted for differences in predator feeding preferences and prey susceptibility to predation, and for the respective trade-offs. A low food demand of the predator was connected to a high food selectivity, and a high growth rate of the prey was connected to a high vulnerability to grazing. The data and the model did not show standard uniform predator-prey cycles, but revealed both complex dynamics and a coexistence of predator and prey at high biomass levels. These dynamics resulted from internally driven alternations in species densities and involved compensatory dynamics between functionally different species. Functional diversity allowed for ongoing adaptation of the predator and prey communities to changing environmental conditions such as food composition and grazing pressure. The trade-offs determined whether compensatory or synchronous dynamics occurred which influence the variability at the community level. Compensatory dynamics were promoted by a joint carrying capacity linking the different prey species which is particularly relevant at high prey biomasses, i.e., when grazers are less efficient. In contrast, synchronization was enhanced by the coupling of the different predator and prey species via common feeding links, e.g., by a high grazing pressure of a nonselective predator. The communities had to be functionally diverse in terms of their trade-offs and their traits to yield compensatory dynamics. Rather similar predator species tended to cycle synchronously, whereas profoundly different species did not coexist. Compensatory dynamics at the community level thus required intermediately strong tradeoffs for functional traits in both predators and their prey.
Katrin Tirok; Ursula Gaedke
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Ecology     Volume:  91     ISSN:  0012-9658     ISO Abbreviation:  Ecology     Publication Date:  2010 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-06-29     Completed Date:  2010-07-20     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0043541     Medline TA:  Ecology     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1748-62     Citation Subset:  IM    
University of Potsdam, Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, Am Neuen Palais 10, 14469 Potsdam, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Algae / physiology*
Ciliophora / physiology*
Computer Simulation
Fresh Water
Models, Biological
Predatory Behavior / physiology*

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