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J Theor Biol. 2002 Aug 7;217(3):369-81.

Consequences of plant-herbivore coevolution on the dynamics and functioning of ecosystems.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Ecologie, UMR 7625, Ecole Normale Superieure, 46 rue d'Ulm, F-75230 Paris Cedex 05, France.


The potential consequences of plant-herbivore coevolution for ecosystem functioning are investigated using a simple nutrient-limited ecosystem model in which plant and herbivore traits are subject to adaptive dynamics. Although the ecological model is very simple and always reaches a stable equilibrium in the absence of evolution, coevolution can generate a great diversity of dynamical behaviors. The evolutionary dynamics can lead to a stable equilibrium. If the evolution of plants is fast enough, certain values of the trade-off parameters lead to complex evolutionary cycles bounded by physiological constraints. The dynamical behavior of the model is very different when the dynamics of inorganic nutrient is ignored and plant competition is modeled by a logistic growth function. This emphasizes the importance of including explicit nutrient dynamics in studies of plant-herbivore coevolution.

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