- Patterns of exclusion in an intraguild predator-prey system depend on initial conditions
- Journal of Animal Ecology
- Volume | Issue number
- 77 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
1. When intraguild (IG)-prey are superior to IG-predators in competing for a shared resource, theory predicts coexistence of the IG-prey or the IG-predator with the resource depending on the productivity level: (a) resource and IG prey coexist when productivity is low; (b) IG-predator and resource coexist at high productivity; (c) if IG-prey and IG-predators can coexist, it is only at intermediate productivity levels.
2. We tested the existence of productivity-dependent regions of coexistence using an experimental system of two predatory mites and a shared food source (pollen).
3. At high levels of pollen supply (i.e. high productivity), the IG-predator excluded the IG-prey in most, but not all, cases. The same pattern of exclusion was observed at low productivity, at which the IG-prey was expected to exclude the IG-predator. Therefore, species composition could not be predicted by productivity levels. Instead, our results show that initial conditions affected strongly the outcome of the interaction.
4. We emphasize the need for theory on IG-predation that takes the effects of stage structure, initial conditions and transient dynamics into account.
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