Maladapted Prey Subsidize Predators and Facilitate Range Expansion

Mark C. Urban (Corresponding Author), Alice Scarpa, Justin M. J. Travis, Greta Bocedi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Dispersal of prey from predator-free patches frequently supplies a trophic subsidy to predators by providing more prey than are produced locally. Prey arriving from predator-free patches might also have evolved weaker defenses against predators and thus enhance trophic subsidies by providing easily captured prey. Using local models assuming a linear or accelerating tradeoff between defense and population growth rate, we demonstrate that immigration of undefended prey increased predator abundances and decreased defended prey through eco-evolutionary apparent competition. In individual-based models with spatial structure, explicit genetics, and gene flow along an environmental gradient, prey became maladapted to predators at the predator’s range edge, and greater gene flow enhanced this maladaptation. The predator gained a subsidy from these easily captured prey, which enhanced its abundance, facilitated it's persistence in marginal habitats, extended its range extent, and enhanced range shifts during environmental changes, such as climate change. Once the predator expanded, prey adapted to it, and the advantage disappeared, resulting in an elastic predator range margin driven by ecoevolutionary dynamics. Overall, the results indicate a need to consider gene flow-induced maladaptation and species interactions as mutual forces that frequently determine ecological and evolutionary dynamics and patterns in nature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-612
Number of pages23
JournalThe American Naturalist
Volume194
Issue number4
Early online date21 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Keywords

  • eco-evolution
  • predator-prey interactions
  • local adaptation
  • gene flow
  • climate change
  • Climate change
  • Gene flow
  • Local adaptation
  • Eco-evolution
  • Predator-prey interactions
  • INTERSPECIFIC COMPETITION
  • ANTIPREDATOR DEFENSES
  • ECO-EVOLUTIONARY DYNAMICS
  • COEVOLUTION
  • CLIMATE-CHANGE
  • SPECIES RANGE
  • GENE FLOW
  • ENERGY ACQUISITION
  • DISPERSAL
  • FOOD SUPPLEMENTATION

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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