Periodic oscillations in an ideal-free predator-prey distribution

S. Schwinning, M. L. Rosenzweig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Simulated the habitat selection behavior in a 3 population predator-prey system with a mid-level predator that is also prey. There were 2 habitats, one of which was a relative refuge from predation. Individuals moved to wherever they could improve their fitness, as if subject to the rules of the ideal-free distribution, but the 3 populations could generally not achieve 3 simultaneous ideal-free distributions. Instead, individuals shifted back and forth between the habitats. Such oscillations were stabilized in 3 ways: 1) increase in the protection provided by the refuge; 2) increase in intraspectific competition among the prey; 3) the presence of a threshold in fitness difference, below which individuals would not change habitats. In the presence of a threshold, population distributions became stable without having achieved a simultaneous ideal-free distribution. -Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-91
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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