Ingestion rates and mortality rates of zooplankton are dynamic parameters reflecting a behavioural trade-off between encounters with food and predators. An evolutionarily consistent behaviour is that which optimizes the trade-off in terms of the fitness conferred to an individual. We argue that interaction rates used in models, rather than being prescribed, should be dynamic emerging properties that reflect this optimization. A simple example illustrates how predator and prey abundance, and prey community structure, can instigate prey switching with cascading trophic effects. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.