Several long-term data sets have been collected of predator and prey in natural systems with the interaction between lynx, Lynx canadensis,and its prey, snowshoe hare, Lepus americanus (MacLulick, 1937), providing some of the best long-term data, as illustrated in Figure 8.1. We would like to explain several features of this interaction which are typical of predator—prey relationships. The predator and prey both appear to persist over a long period of time. The coexistence involves cycles: both predator and prey numbers appear to oscillate. Finally, the numbers of predators appear to increase in response to the numbers of prey: the peaks in predator abundance appear to follow the peaks in prey abundance (this is clearest for the last several peaks in the figure).
KeywordsFunctional Response Phase Plane Density Dependence Predation Rate Predator Population
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