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Theor Popul Biol. 2003 Jun;63(4):269-79.

Optimal foraging and predator-prey dynamics III.

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  • 1Department of Theoretical Biology, Institute of Entomology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Branisovsk√° 31, 370 05 Cesk√© Budejovice, Czech Republic.


In the previous two articles (Theor. Popul. Biol. 49 (1996) 265-290; 55 (1999) 111-126), the population dynamics resulting from a two-prey-one-predator system with adaptive predators was studied. In these articles, predators followed the predictions of optimal foraging theory. Analysis of that system was hindered by the incorporation of the logistic description of prey growth. In particular, because prey self-regulation dependence is a strong stabilizing mechanism, the effects of optimal foraging could not be easily separated from the effects of bottom-up control of prey growth on species coexistence. In this article, we analyze two models. The first model assumes the exponential growth of both prey types while the second model assumes the exponential growth of the preferred prey type and the logistic growth of the alternative prey type. This permits the effect of adaptive foraging on two-prey-predator food webs to be addressed. We show that optimal foraging reduces apparent competition between the two prey types, promotes species coexistence, and leads to multiple attractors.

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