Ecological Research

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 665–671 | Cite as

Individual behavioral variation in predator–prey models

Original Article


The role of individual behavioral variation in community dynamics was studied. Behavioral variation in this study does not refer to differences in average responses (e.g., average response between presence and absence of antipredator behavior). Rather it refers to the variation around the average response that is not explained by trivial experimental treatments. First, the effect of behavioral variation was examined based on Jensen’s inequality. In cases of commonly used modeling framework with type II functional response, neglecting behavioral variation (a component of encounter rate) causes overestimation of predation effects. The effect of this bias on community processes was examined by incorporating the behavioral variation in a commonly used consumer-resource model (Rosenzweig–MacArthur model). How such a consideration affects a model prediction (paradox of enrichment) was examined. The inclusion of behavioral variation can both quantitatively and qualitatively alter the model characteristics. Behavioral variation can substantially increase the stability of the community with respect to enrichment.


Jensen’s inequality Adaptive behavior Paradox of enrichment 



I thank Ben Bolker, Chris Jensen, and an anonymous reviewer for their insightful comments.


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyRice UniversityHoustonUSA

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