Comparing the effects of rapid evolution and phenotypic plasticity on predator-prey dynamics

Yamamichi, M., Yoshida, T., & Sasaki, A. ORCID: (2011). Comparing the effects of rapid evolution and phenotypic plasticity on predator-prey dynamics. The American Naturalist 178 (3) 287-304. 10.1086/661241.

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Ecologists have increasingly focused on how rapid adaptive trait changes can affect population dynamics. Rapid adaptation can result from either rapid evolution or phenotypic plasticity, but their effects on population dynamics are seldom compared directly. Here we examine theoretically the effects of rapid evolution and phenotypic plasticity of antipredatory defense on predator-prey dynamics. Our analyses reveal that phenotypic plasticity tends to stabilize population dynamics more strongly than rapid evolution. It is therefore important to know the mechanism by which phenotypic variation is generated for predicting the dynamics of rapidly adapting populations. We next examine an advantage of a phenotypically plastic prey genotype over the polymorphism of specialist prey genotypes. Numerical analyses reveal that the plastic genotype, if there is a small cost for maintaining it, cannot coexist with the pairs of specialist counterparts unless the system has a limit cycle. Furthermore, for the plastic genotype to replace specialist genotypes, a forced environmental fluctuation is critical in a broad parameter range. When these results are combined, the plastic genotype enjoys an advantage with population oscillations, but plasticity tends to lose its advantage by stabilizing the oscillations. This dilemma leads to an interesting intermittent limit cycle with the hanging frequency of phenotypic plasticity.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Standing genetic variation; Inducible defense; Stability; Ecoevolutionary feedback; Bursting; Environmental fluctuation
Research Programs: Evolution and Ecology (EEP)
Bibliographic Reference: The American Naturalist; 178(3):287-304 (September 2011) (Published online 27 July 2011)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:45
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:21

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