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Population and Community Consequences of Spatial Subsidies Derived from Central-Place Foraging



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vol 170 no 6 the american naturalist december 2007 Population and Community Consequences of Spatial Subsidies Derived from Central Place Foraging William F Fagan 1 Frithjof Lutscher 2 and Katie Schneider3 1 Department of Biology University of Maryland College Park Maryland 20742 2 Department of Mathematics University of Ottawa Ottawa Ontario K1N 6N5 Canada 3 Graduate Program in Behavior Ecology Evolution and Systematics University of Maryland College Park Maryland 20742 Submitted October 19 2006 Accepted July 12 2007 Electronically published October 12 2007 Online enhancements appendices figures abstract Central place foragers such as ants beavers and colonial seabirds can act as biological conduits subsidizing local communities with allochthonous resources To explore the consequences of such biologically vectored resource redistribution we draw on an example from cave ecology and develop a population level model of centralplace foraging based on the dispersal kernel framework We explore how the size of the patch in which central place foraging occurs and the spatial distribution of foragers within that patch feed back to influence the population dynamics of the central place forager and the species richness of the associated recipient community We demonstrate that the particular way in which a population of centralplace foragers uses space has two important effects First space use determines the stability of the forager population and establishes patch size thresholds for persistence stable equilibria and limit cycles Second alternative foraging kernels lead to qualitatively different scaling relationships between the size of the foraging patch and species richness back at the central place These analyses provide a new link among elements of ecology related to animal behavior population dynamics and species diversity while also providing a novel perspective on the utility of integrodifference equations for problems in spatial ecology Keywords cave crickets cave



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