Homage to the red queen. I. Coevolution of predators and their victims

William M. Schaffer, Michael L. Rosenzweig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


In this paper we develop a model to describe the coevolution of a two-species predator-victim ecosystem. Evolution among the predators acts to displace the predators' zero growth isocline, J, to the left, whereas victim evolution has the opposite effect. More important, we show that for many such systems, there is a value of J, J*, at which the rate of predator evolution exactly equals the rate of victim evolution. This value of J turns out to be a coevolutionary steady state (CSS) which is stable to perturbations. It is suggested that this analysis permits qualitative understanding of why certain real world predator-prey systems oscillate, whereas others do not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-157
Number of pages23
JournalTheoretical Population Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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