Theoretical Ecology

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 45–53 | Cite as

The long-term and transient implications of multiple predators in biocontrol

  • Lucas Del Bianco FariaEmail author
  • James Umbanhowar
  • Kevin S. McCann
Original Paper


In this study, we explore the role of multiple predators on the transient and long-term dynamic outcomes of biological control. Consistent with previous theory, our results suggest that specialist predators ought to promote less stable long-term biological control than generalists, while generalists readily drive suppression of nontarget prey species. Interestingly, our results show that the combination of specialists and generalists act synergistically to promote well-behaved biological control. This occurs because generalists do not as readily drive nontarget suppression in the presence of specialist, as specialists shunt energy away from generalists, lowering generalists’ growth rates and so lessening their impact on nontarget species. Similarly, specialists have a less destabilizing (i.e., less variable) influence in the presence of generalists, as generalists shunt energy away from specialists, reducing their growth rates and muting boom and bust dynamics. Finally, our results suggest the intriguing potential that endemic generalist predators, not introduced generalist predators, may often be responsible for the suppression and elimination of nontarget species. This final result demands empirical attention.


Biological control Food web Multiple predators Endemic suppression Long-term dynamic Transient dynamic 



Lucas Del Bianco Faria was supported by a fellowship from CAPES Foundation (PDEE – BEX 0320/04-8), and James Umbanhowar and Kevin S. McCann were supported by a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to KSM.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science & Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucas Del Bianco Faria
    • 1
    Email author
  • James Umbanhowar
    • 2
  • Kevin S. McCann
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratório Nacional de Computação CientíficaPetrópolisBrazil
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of North CarolineChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of Integrative Biology, College of Biological ScienceUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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