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Forskningsartikel2012Vetenskapligt granskad

Omnivores as plant bodyguards-A model of the importance of plant quality

Ågren, Göran; Stenberg, Johan A; Björkman, Christer


The importance of omnivores in ecological systems is increasingly being recognized, not least due to their intensified use as biocontrol agents in crop production. We model a simple plant herbivore omnivore (predator) system to explore the effects of plant suitability as food for omnivores on the outcome of omnivore herbivore interactions. The model predicts that increasing plant suitability relative to herbivore suitability for the omnivore will catalyze the extinction of herbivores or omnivores, depending on the relative growth rate of omnivores feeding solely on plants or herbivores. When omnivore growth is higher on plants, either the omnivore or the herbivore goes extinct. When omnivore growth is higher on herbivores, the possible consequences are extinction, stable coexistence, and limit cycles, depending on the combination of species properties. Our results suggest that plants in some situations may evolve towards becoming more suitable to omnivores to escape detrimental herbivores and that breeders could manipulate crop suitability to omnivore species to reach a desired outcome of omnivore-herbivore interactions.


Intraguild predation; Herbivory; Omnivory; Biological control; Plant quality; Omnivore diet; Tri-trophic interactions; Food webs; Integrated pest management; Host plant resistance

Publicerad i

Basic and Applied Ecology
2012, Volym: 13, nummer: 5, sidor: 441-448