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Am Nat. 2001 Sep;158(3):259-76. doi: 10.1086/321321.

Impact of intraguild predation and stage structure on simple communities along a productivity gradient.

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Population Biology Section, University of Amsterdam, P.O. Box 94084, NL-1090 GB Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


We analyze the consequences of intraguild predation and stage structure for the possible composition of a three-species community consisting of resource, consumer, and predator. Intraguild predation, a special case of omnivory, induces two major differences with traditional linear food chain models: the potential for the occurrence of two alternative stable equilibria at intermediate levels of resource productivity and the extinction of the consumer at high productivities. At low productivities, the consumer dominates, while at intermediate productivities, the predator and the consumer can coexist. The qualitative behavior of the model is robust against addition of an invulnerable size class for the consumer population and against addition of an initial, nonpredatory stage for the predator population, which means that the addition of stage structure does not change the pattern. Unless the top predator is substantially less efficient on the bottom resource, it tends to drive the intermediate species extinct over a surprisingly large range of productivities, thus making coexistence generally impossible. These theoretical results indicate that the conditions for stable food chains involving intraguild predation cannot involve strong competition for the bottommost resource.


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