The effects of enrichment on the dynamics of apparent competitive interactions in stage-structured systems.
Bonsall MB., Holt RD.
In the absence of other limiting factors, assemblages in which species share a common, effective natural enemy are not expected to persist. Although a variety of mechanisms have been postulated to explain the coexistence of species that share natural enemies, the role of productivity gradients has not been explored in detail. Here, we examine how enrichment can affect the outcome of apparent competition. We develop a structured resource/consumer/natural enemy model in which the prey are exposed to attacks during a vulnerable life phase, the length of which depends on resource availability. With a single prey species, the model exhibits the "paradox of enrichment," with unstable dynamics at high levels of resource productivity. We extend this model to consider two prey species linked by a shared predator, each with their own distinct resource base. We derive invasion and stability conditions and examine how enrichment influences prey species exclusion and coexistence. Contrary to expectations from simpler, prey-dependent models, apparent competition is not necessarily strong at high productivity, and prey species coexistence may thus be more likely in enriched environments. Further, the coexistence of apparent competitors may be facilitated by unstable dynamics. These results contrast with the standard theory that apparent competition in productive environments leads to nonpersistent interactions and that coexistence of multispecies interactions is more likely under equilibrial conditions.