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Bull Math Biol. 2006 Jul;68(5):1111-23. Epub 2006 Jun 15.

The evolution of resource adaptation: how generalist and specialist consumers evolve.

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Department of Mathematics and Statistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1, Canada.


Why and how specialist and generalist strategies evolve are important questions in evolutionary ecology. In this paper, with the method of adaptive dynamics and evolutionary branching, we identify conditions that select for specialist and generalist strategies. Generally, generalist strategies evolve if there is a switching benefit; specialists evolve if there is a switching cost. If the switching cost is large, specialists always evolve. If the switching cost is small, even though the consumer will first evolve toward a generalist strategy, it will eventually branch into two specialists.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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