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The impact of specialized enemies on the dimensionality of host dynamics

Nature volume 409, pages 10011006 (22 February 2001) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Although individual species persist within a web of interactions with other species, data are usually gathered only from the focal species itself. We ask whether evidence of a species’ interactions be detected and understood from patterns in the dynamics of that species alone. Theory predicts that strong coupling between a prey and a specialist predator/parasite should lead to an increase in the dimensionality of the prey's dynamics, whereas weak coupling should not. Here we describe a rare test of this prediction. Two natural enemies were added separately to replicate populations of a moth. For biological reasons that we identify here, the prediction of increased dimensionality was confirmed when a parasitoid wasp was added (although this increase had subtleties not previously appreciated), but the prediction failed for an added virus. Thus, an imprint of the interactions may be discerned within time-series data from component species of a system.

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Acknowledgements

Funding was received from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (O.N.B.) (a Center funded by the NSF, the University of California Santa Barbara and the State of California), from the Norwegian National Science Foundation (O.N.B., N.C.S.) and from NERC (M.B., S.M.S. and D.J.T.). P. Amarasekare, A. Dobson and B. Grenfell commented on the manuscript.

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    • Ottar N. Bjørnstad

    Present address: Department of Entomology, 501 ASI building, Penn State, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.

Affiliations

  1. *National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, 735 State Street, Suite 300, Santa Barbara, California 93101-3351, USA

    • Ottar N. Bjørnstad
  2. ‡Population and Evolutionary Biology Research Group, School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool, PO Box 147, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK

    • Steven M. Sait
    • , David J. Thompson
    •  & Michael Begon
  3. §Division of Zoology, Department of Biology, University of Oslo, PO Box 1050 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway

    • Nils C. Stenseth

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https://doi.org/10.1038/35059003

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