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Predator Selectivity Alters the Effect of Dispersal on Coexistence among Apparent Competitors
Örjan Östman and Jonathan M. Chase
Vol. 116, No. 3 (Mar., 2007), pp. 387-394
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40235077
Page Count: 8
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While the majority of studies on dispersal effects on patterns of coexistence among species in a metacommunity have focused on resource competitors, dispersal in systems with predator-prey interactions may provide very different results. Here, we use an analytical model to study the effect of dispersal rates on coexistence of two prey species sharing a predator (apparent competition), when the traits of that predator vary. Specifically, we explore the range in immigration rates where apparent competitors are able to coexist, and how that range changes with predator selectivity and efficiency. We find that if the inferior apparent competitor has a higher probability of being consumed, it will require less immigration to invade and to exclude the superior prey as the predator becomes more opportunistic. However, if the inferior apparent competitor has a lower probability of being consumed (and lower growth rates), higher immigration is required for the inferior prey to invade and exclude the superior prey as the predator becomes more opportunistic. We further find that the largest range of immigration rates where prey coexist occurs when predator selectivity is intermediate (i. e. they do not show much bias towards consuming one species or the other). Increasing predator efficiency generally reduces the immigration rates necessary for the inferior apparent competitor to invade and exclude the superior apparent competitor, but also reduces the range of immigration rates where the two apparent competitors can coexist. However, when the superior apparent competitor has a higher probability of being consumed, increased predator efficiency can increase the range of parameters where the species can coexist. Our results are consistent with some of the variation observed in the effect of dispersal on prey species richness in empirical systems with top predators.
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