Evolution of Specialization and Ecological Character Displacement of Herbivores along a Gradient of Plant Quality

Egas M, Sabelis MW, & Dieckmann U (2005). Evolution of Specialization and Ecological Character Displacement of Herbivores along a Gradient of Plant Quality. IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-05-019

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Abstract

We study the combined evolutionary dynamics of herbivore specialization and ecological character displacement, taking into account foraging behavior of the herbivores, and a quality gradient of plant types. Herbivores can adapt by changing two adaptive traits: their level of specialization in feeding efficiency and their point of maximum feeding efficiency along the plant gradient. The number of herbivore phenotypes, their levels of specialization, and the amount of character displacement among them are the result of the evolutionary dynamics, which is driven by the underlying population dynamics, which in turn is driven by the underlying foraging behavior. Our analysis demonstrates broad conditions for the diversification of a herbivore population into many specialized phenotypes, for basically any foraging behavior focusing utilization on highest gains while also including errors. Our model predicts two characteristic phases in the adaptation of herbivore phenotypes: a fast character displacement phase, and a slow coevolutionary niche shift phase. This two-phase pattern is expected to be of wide relevance in various consumer-resource systems. Bringing together ecological character displacement and the evolution of specialization in a single model, our study suggests suggests that the foraging behavior of herbivorous arthropods is a key factor promoting specialist raiation.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adaptive dynamics; Adaptive radiation; Coevolutionary miche shift; Ecological character displacement; Foraging behavior; Herbivorous arthropods; Resource gradient
Research Programs: Adaptive Dynamics Network (ADN)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:18
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2016 19:43
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/7816

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