Despite often violent fluctuations in nature, species extinction
is rare. California red scale, a potentially devastating pest of
citrus, has been suppressed for fifty years in California to
extremely low yet stable densities by its controlling parasitoid.
Some larch budmoth populations undergo extreme cycles; others never
cycle. In Consumer-Resource Dynamics, William Murdoch, Cherie
Briggs, and Roger Nisbet use these and numerous other biological
examples to lay the groundwork for a unifying theory applicable to
predator-prey, parasitoid-host, and other consumer-resource
interactions. Throughout, the focus is on how the properties of
real organisms affect population dynamics.
The core of the book synthesizes and extends the authors' own
models involving insect parasitoids and their hosts, and explores
in depth how consumer species compete for a dynamic resource. The
emerging general consumer-resource theory accounts for how
consumers respond to differences among individuals in the resource
population. From here the authors move to other models of
consumer-resource dynamics and population dynamics in general.
Consideration of empirical examples, key concepts, and a necessary
review of simple models is followed by examination of spatial
processes affecting dynamics, and of implications for biological
control of pest organisms. The book establishes the coherence and
broad applicability of consumer-resource theory and connects it to
single-species dynamics. It closes by stressing the theory's value
as a hierarchy of models that allows both generality and
testability in the field.
Subjects: Biological Sciences
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