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Theor Popul Biol. 2002 Nov;62(3):259-69.

The impact of resource limitation and the phenology of parasitoid attack on the duration of insect herbivore outbreaks.

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Department of Environmental Science and Policy, Center for Population Biology, Institute for Theoretical Dynamics, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Fluctuations in resource quality and quantity, and changes in mortality due to predators and parasites are thought to be of prime importance in the regular fluctuations of forest insects. We examine how food limitation and parasitoids with different phenologies of attack regulate the population cycles of insect hosts. Our analysis of the limit cycle of a model with a biologically realistic form of density dependence in the host yields two novel predictions. First, outbreaks will typically last for only 2 generations after parasitoids begin to reduce the host population below the maximum density. Second, host growth rate is important in determining cycle length only when parasitoids attack before the impacts of resource limitation affect the host. The robustness of these predictions are tested using a more general form of density dependence in the host, revealing that our predictions are valid as long as density dependence in the host is not too overcompensatory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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