Bottom-up ecology

an agent-based model on the interactions between competition and predation

  • Istvan Karsai Department of Biological Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA
  • Emil Montano Department of Biological Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA
  • Thomas Schmickl Department of Zoology, Karl-Franzens-University Graz, Graz, Austria
Keywords: Agent-based model, competition, predation, simulation

Abstract

We developed an agent-based computer model of an ecosystem to predict interactions of competition and predation. In our simulations of the model, the effects of the ‘Gause law’ emerged as the results of population fluctuations and a large number of stochastic events. Small biases in life history parameters produced strong effects through the interactions of positive feedback with the population fluctuations. In a low-production environment, the smaller and faster consumer outcompetes the larger and slower one, but in a high production environment the larger and slower consumer survives. Predation hastens the extinction of one of the consumers, but niche partitioning of the consumers increases both the coexistence of consumers and the number of predators. Predators with medium efficiency are able to coexist in the system longer and in larger numbers. Besides the ecological insights this model provides, we conclude that agent-based simulations are very effective tools to explore the interactions between predation and competition interactions.

Published
2016-12-01
How to Cite
Karsai, Istvan, Emil Montano, and Thomas Schmickl. 2016. “Bottom-up Ecology”. Letters in Biomathematics 3 (1), 161–180. https://doi.org/10.1080/23737867.2016.1217756.
Section
Research

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