Life history traits are important for modeling predator-prey dynamics in marine systems

Striking differences in the dispersal of coexisting species have fascinated marine ecologists for decades. Findings from an inter-hemispheric comparison of data suggest that simple models can capture some of the complexity caused by differing life history traits such as modes of dispersal. Despite widespread attention to the impact of dispersal on individual population and species dynamics, the role of dispersal in determining outcomes of species interactions has received comparatively little attention. Researchers combined analyses of simple predator-prey models with different dispersal patterns and data from several ecological systems along the Pacific coasts of North and South America. Their findings reconcile perplexing results from previous studies and suggest that simple mathematical models can capture some of the “essential aspects of predator-prey dynamics in marine systems and explain the different patterns of spatial association that emerge as a consequence of their life histories.” This scientific synthesis suggests that management and conservation models should consider the life histories of species.  

Wieters, E. A., S. D. Gaines, S.A. Navarrete, C.A. Blanchette, and B.A. Menge. 2007. Scales of Dispersal and the Biogeography of Marine Predator-Prey Interactions. The American Naturalist 171: 405-417. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/527492

 

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