Behavioral interference and facilitation in the foraging cycle shape the functional response

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Abstract

Individual forager behaviors should affect per capita intake rates and thereby population and consumer-resource properties. We consider and incorporate conspecific facilitation and interference during the separate foraging-cycle stages in a functional response model that links individual behavioral interactions with consumer-resource processes. Our analyses suggest that failing to properly consider and include all effects of behavioral interactions on foraging-cycle stage performances may either over- or underestimate effects of interactions on the shape of both functional responses and predator zero-growth isoclines. Incorporation of prey- and predator-dependent interactions among foragers in the model produces predator isoclines with potentials for highly complex consumer-resource dynamics. Facilitation and interference during the foraging cycle are therefore suggested as potent behavioral mechanisms to cause patterns of community dynamics. We emphasize that correct estimations of interaction-mediated foraging-cycle efficiencies should be considered in empirical and theoretical attempts to further our understanding of the mechanistic link between social behaviors and higher order processes.

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