The interplay between behavior and morphology in the evolutionary dynamics of resource specialization

Rueffler, C., Van Dooren, T.J.M., & Metz, J.A.J. (2007). The interplay between behavior and morphology in the evolutionary dynamics of resource specialization. The American Naturalist 169 (2) E34-E52. 10.1086/510635.

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We analyze the consequences of diet choice behavior for the evolutionary dynamics of foraging traits by means of a mathematical model. The model is characterized by the following features. Consumers feed on two different substitutable resources that are distributed in a fine-grained manner. On encounter with a resource item, consumers decide whether to attack it so as to maximize their energy intake. Simultaneously, evolutionary change occurs in morphological traits involved in the foraging process. The assumption here is that evolution is constrained by a trade-off in the consumers ability to forage on the alternative resources. The model predicts that flexible diet choice behavior can guide the direction of evolutionary change and mediate coexistence of different consumer types. Such polymorphisms can evolve from a monomorphic population at evolutionary branching points and also at points where a small genetic change in a trait can provoke a sharp instantaneous and nongenetic change in choice behavior. In the case of weak trade-offs, the evolutionary dynamics of a dimorphic consumer population can lead to alternative evolutionarily stable communities. The robustness of these predictions is checked with individual-based simulations and by relaxing the assumption of optimally foraging consumers.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adaptive dynamics; Coexistence; Generalist; Optimal diet choice; Specialist; Trade-off
Research Programs: Evolution and Ecology (EEP)
Bibliographic Reference: The American Naturalist; 169(2):E34-E52 (February 2007) (Published online 22 December 2006)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:39
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:19

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