The influence of generalist predators in spatially extended predator-prey systems

Subhendu Chakraborty

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The presence of generalist predators is known to have important ecological impacts in several fields. They have wide applicability in the field of biological control. However, their role in the spatial distribution of predator and prey populations is still not clear. In this paper, the spatial dynamics of a predator-prey system is investigated by considering two different types of generalist predators. In one case, it is considered that the predator population has an additional food source and can survive in the absence of the prey population. In the other case, the predator population is involved in intraguild predation, i.e., the source of the additional food of the predator coincides with the food source of the prey population and thus both prey and predator populations compete for the same resource. The conditions for linear stability and Turing instability are analyzed for both the cases. In the presence of generalist predators, the system shows different pattern formations and spatiotemporal chaos which has important implications for ecosystem functioning not only in terms of their predictability, but also in influencing species persistence and ecosystem stability in response to abrupt environmental changes. This study establishes the importance of the consideration of spatial dynamics while determining optimal strategies for biological control through generalist predators
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcological Complexity: An International Journal on Biocomplexity in the Environment and Theoretical Ecology
Pages (from-to)50-60
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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