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J R Soc Interface. 2012 Jun 7;9(71):1373-80. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2011.0686. Epub 2011 Nov 16.

Adaptive behaviour, tri-trophic food-web stability and damping of chaos.

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Department of Marine Ecology and Aquaculture, National Institute for Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Kavalergaarden 6, 2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark.


We examine the effect of adaptive foraging behaviour within a tri-trophic food web with intra-guild predation. The intra-guild prey is allowed to adjust its foraging effort so as to achieve an optimal per capita growth rate in the face of realized feeding, predation risk and foraging cost. Adaptive fitness-seeking behaviour of the intra-guild prey has a stabilizing effect on the tri-trophic food-web dynamics provided that (i) a finite optimal foraging effort exists and (ii) the trophic transfer efficiency from resource to predator via the intra-guild prey is greater than that from the resource directly. The latter condition is a general criterion for the feasibility of intra-guild predation as a trophic mode. Under these conditions, we demonstrate rigorously that adaptive behaviour will always promote stability of community dynamics in the sense that the region of parameter space in which stability is achieved is larger than for the non-adaptive counterpart of the system.

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