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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2007

Density dependence vs. independence, and irregular population dynamics of a swallow-wort fruit fly

Solbreck C, Ives AR

Abstract

Although most long-term studies of consumer-resource (e. g., predator-prey) interactions select species showing cyclic population dynamics, strong consumer-resource interactions can also produce irregular, noncyclic dynamics. Here, we present a case in which a seed predator, the tephritid fruit fly Euphranta connexa, shows fluctuations in density of more than two orders of magnitude over a 22-year period. To explain these fluctuations, we analyzed a stage-specific data set to quantify the density-dependent and density-independent components of larval survivorship and realized fecundity. Both larval survivorship and realized fecundity were strongly density dependent. Larval survivorship dropped from 0.62 at low larval density to 0.081 at high larval density, whereas fecundity dropped from 84.3 to 0.32 eggs per individual, more than a 100-fold decrease. We divided density-independent variation in E. connexa population dynamics into components for variability in (1) larval survivorship, (2) realized fecundity, and (3) annual fruit abundance. Of these components, 96% of the density-independent variance in per capita population growth rates was caused by fluctuations in fruit abundance. This highlights the importance of the strong consumer-resource interactions in driving fluctuations in E. connexa abundance. It also demonstrates that E. connexa dynamics are remarkably simple, and aside from the 4% of unexplained variance in per capita population growth rates, our understanding of E. connexa dynamics is remarkably complete

Published in

Ecology
2007, Volume: 88, number: 6, pages: 1466-1475
Publisher: ECOLOGICAL SOC AMER

      SLU Authors

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1890/06-1802

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/15300