The evolution of resource adaptation: How generalist and specialist consumers evolve

Junling Ma, Simon Asher Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Why and how specialist and generalist strategies evolve are important questions in evolutionary ecology. In this paper, with the method of adaptive dynamics and evolutionary branching, we identify conditions that select for specialist and generalist strategies. Generally, generalist strategies evolve if there is a switching benefit; specialists evolve if there is a switching cost. If the switching cost is large, specialists always evolve. If the switching cost is small, even though the consumer will first evolve toward a generalist strategy, it will eventually branch into two specialists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1111-1123
Number of pages13
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Volume68
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pharmacology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics

Keywords

  • Adaptive dynamics
  • Evolutionary branching
  • Generalist
  • Resource adaptation
  • Specialist

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