Evol Ecol Res 6: 1063-1081 (2004)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Do short-term behavioural responses of consumers in tri-trophic food chains persist at the population time-scale?

Vlastimil Křivan1* and Etienne Sirot2

1Department of Theoretical Biology, Institute of Entomology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Branišovská 31, 370 05 České Budejovic, Czech Republic and  2Biologie Evolutive, LAUBS, Université de Bretagne Sud, Campus de Tohannic, BP 573, 56017 Vannes, France

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: krivan@entu.cas.cz


We present a theoretical study of individual response to the feeding efficiency–predation risk trade-off in tri-trophic food chains where consumers (the species at the intermediate trophic level) choose their activity level to maximize their fitness. We derive the optimal level of foraging activity as a function of resource abundance and predation risk, and we study the long-term effects of these behavioural traits on population dynamics. We compare different models of population dynamics and we show that long-term predictions depend heavily on the model description. In particular, linear functional responses lead to maximal foraging activity of consumers at the population equilibrium, while Holling type II functional responses can lead to moderate or low levels of consumer activity at the population equilibrium.

Keywords: adaptive foraging, anti-predator behaviour, feeding efficiency–predation risk trade-off, food chain, population dynamics, trait-mediated indirect interactions, trophic cascade.

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