, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 93-102

Mixed responses to resource densities and their implications for character displacement

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How should a consumer of two resource types adapt to changes in their abundances? This paper shows that many different biological circumstances produce mixed responses; i.e. increasing availability of one resource increases the consumer's efforts to obtain it, while increasing availability of the other resource decreases the consumer's efforts at exploitation. This implies that competition from a second consumer species may cause convergent or divergent character displacement of the first species. The signs and magnitudes of the second derivative of the fitness function are important in determining which outcome occurs. The degree of resource limitation of the consumer species also influences the nature of adaptive shifts in resource use.