Non-omnivorous generality promotes population stability

Tamara N. Romanuk, Beatrix E. Beisner, Neo D. Martinez, Jurek Kolasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Using a combination of stable isotope analysis of δ13C and δ15N and long-term census data on population abundances for meiofauna in tropical aquatic rock pools, we provide evidence that species which exhibit greater variation in δ13C, an indication of a greater range of distinct carbon sources in their diet, have more stable populations than species with lower variation in δ13C. This link between increased isotope variability and reduced population variability, however, did not hold for δ15N. This suggests that increases in population stability were due to non-omnivorous feeding on multiple carbon sources within a trophic level rather than omnivorous feeding on multiple carbon sources across trophic levels. Our findings corroborate MacArthur's original hypothesis that populations that can access a greater range of resources are more stable than those which consume a more restricted range of resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-377
Number of pages4
JournalBiology letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 22 2006


  • Generality
  • Omnivory
  • Population dynamics
  • Rock pools
  • Stable isotope analysis
  • Zooplankton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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