It has been reported that, in order to reduce mortality, prey are able to change their phenotype in response to cues released from predators. These short-time responses constitute effective antipredator strategies in variable environments, and involve changes in morphology, behavior, physiology or life-history traits of prey individuals belonging to a wide spectrum of taxa. Defenses can be classified into pre-encounter and post-encounter, depending on the phase of the predation process in which they take place. Also, inducible defenses should be costly. Despite the current knowledge of inducible defenses at the individual level, our understanding of their dynamic consequences at the population and community level is limited. In this work we construct and analyze numerically a predator–prey system, parameterized from published experimental data, in which prey exhibit inducible defenses of the type pre-encounter (affecting attack rate) or post-encounter (affecting handling time) and entailing either metabolic or feeding costs. The above assumptions were analyzed over a gradient of resource availability. Our results indicated that both types of cost have a similar effect on the dynamics of the model system, but we expect that different costs will produce different outcomes in a more complex model community. Conversely, pre-encounter and post-encounter IDs define domains of attraction with different size and shape within the studied sections of the multidimensional parameter space. Roughly speaking, post-encounter IDs determine a more rich dynamics when plausible parameter values are chosen, and the effect of resource density is different if the ID is handling-time based or attack-rate based. In agreement with previous works, our analyses indicate that IDs can damp population oscillations and prevent the paradox of enrichment.
Ecological Modelling – Elsevier
Published: Jan 10, 2007
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