Habitat shape, metapopulation processes and the dynamics of multispecies predator-prey interactions.
Bull JC., Pickup NJ., Hassell MP., Bonsall MB.
1. The effects of habitat shape, connectivity and the metapopulation processes of persistence and extinction are explored in a multispecies resource-consumer interaction. 2. The spatial dynamics of the indirect interaction between two prey species (Callosobruchus chinensis, Callosobruchus maculatus) and a predator (Anisopteromalus calandrae) are investigated and we show how the persistence time of this interaction is altered in different habitat configurations by the presence of an apparent competitor. 3. Habitat structure has differential effects on the dynamics of the resource-consumer interaction. Across all habitat types, the pairwise interaction between C. chinensis and A. calandrae is highly prone to extinction, while the interaction between C. maculatus and A. calandrae shows sustained long-term fluctuations. Contrary to expectations from theory, habitat shape has no significant effect on persistence time of the full, three-species resource-consumer assemblage. 4. A stochastic metapopulation model for a range of habitat configurations, incorporating different forms of regulatory processes, highlights that it is the spatially explicit population dynamics rather than the shape of the metapopulation that is the principal determinant of interaction persistence time.