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Theor Popul Biol. 2006 Aug;70(1):43-55. Epub 2005 Dec 19.

The dynamic effects of an inducible defense in the Nicholson-Bailey model.

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  • 1Department of Physiological Ecology, Max-Planck-Institute of Limnology, P.O. Box 165, 24302 Plön, Germany. kopp@zi.biologie.uni-muenchen.de


We investigate the dynamic effects of an inducible prey defense in the Nicholson-Bailey predator-prey model. We assume that the defense is of all-or-nothing type but that the probability for a prey individual to express the defended phenotype increases gradually with predator density. Compared to a defense that is independent of predation risk, an inducible defense facilitates persistence of the predator-prey system. In particular, inducibility reduces the minimal strength of the defense required for persistence. It also promotes stability by damping predator-prey cycles, but there are exceptions to this result: first, a strong inducible defense leads to the existence of multiple equilibria, and sometimes, to the destruction of stable equilibria. Second, a fast increase in the proportion of defended prey can create predator-prey cycles as the result of an over-compensating negative feedback. Non-equilibrium dynamics of the model are extremely complex.

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