Ecological stability and social hierarchy

William Gurney, R.M. Nisbet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We have examined a predator-prey model in which the predator is assumed to have a social structure of the dominance hierarchy or “peck order” type in which the feeding success of an individual is related both to the availability of food and to his social rank. We find such a social structure to be a strongly beneficial influence on population stability so long as the rewards of social dominance are not too extreme. We also show that an optimally hierarchical predator population can stably achieve a much larger depression of the prey below its carrying capacity than is possible for a simple predator population composed of identical individuals. This strongly suggests that socially structured predator populations may be more effective agents of biological control than simpler predators with no such population structure.
LanguageEnglish
Pages48-80
Number of pages33
JournalTheoretical Population Biology
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1979

Fingerprint

ecological stability
predator
predators
social structure
social dominance
carrying capacity
biological control
food availability
biological control agents
population structure
food

Keywords

  • population stability
  • predator-prey model
  • social structure
  • peck order

Cite this

Gurney, William ; Nisbet, R.M. / Ecological stability and social hierarchy. In: Theoretical Population Biology. 1979 ; Vol. 16, No. 1. pp. 48-80.
@article{f703d2e5af234b599067fe54056e67f8,
title = "Ecological stability and social hierarchy",
abstract = "We have examined a predator-prey model in which the predator is assumed to have a social structure of the dominance hierarchy or “peck order” type in which the feeding success of an individual is related both to the availability of food and to his social rank. We find such a social structure to be a strongly beneficial influence on population stability so long as the rewards of social dominance are not too extreme. We also show that an optimally hierarchical predator population can stably achieve a much larger depression of the prey below its carrying capacity than is possible for a simple predator population composed of identical individuals. This strongly suggests that socially structured predator populations may be more effective agents of biological control than simpler predators with no such population structure.",
keywords = "population stability, predator-prey model, social structure, peck order",
author = "William Gurney and R.M. Nisbet",
year = "1979",
month = "8",
doi = "10.1016/0040-5809(79)90006-6",
language = "English",
volume = "16",
pages = "48--80",
journal = "Theoretical Population Biology",
issn = "0040-5809",
number = "1",

}

Ecological stability and social hierarchy. / Gurney, William; Nisbet, R.M.

In: Theoretical Population Biology, Vol. 16, No. 1, 08.1979, p. 48-80.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Ecological stability and social hierarchy

AU - Gurney, William

AU - Nisbet, R.M.

PY - 1979/8

Y1 - 1979/8

N2 - We have examined a predator-prey model in which the predator is assumed to have a social structure of the dominance hierarchy or “peck order” type in which the feeding success of an individual is related both to the availability of food and to his social rank. We find such a social structure to be a strongly beneficial influence on population stability so long as the rewards of social dominance are not too extreme. We also show that an optimally hierarchical predator population can stably achieve a much larger depression of the prey below its carrying capacity than is possible for a simple predator population composed of identical individuals. This strongly suggests that socially structured predator populations may be more effective agents of biological control than simpler predators with no such population structure.

AB - We have examined a predator-prey model in which the predator is assumed to have a social structure of the dominance hierarchy or “peck order” type in which the feeding success of an individual is related both to the availability of food and to his social rank. We find such a social structure to be a strongly beneficial influence on population stability so long as the rewards of social dominance are not too extreme. We also show that an optimally hierarchical predator population can stably achieve a much larger depression of the prey below its carrying capacity than is possible for a simple predator population composed of identical individuals. This strongly suggests that socially structured predator populations may be more effective agents of biological control than simpler predators with no such population structure.

KW - population stability

KW - predator-prey model

KW - social structure

KW - peck order

U2 - 10.1016/0040-5809(79)90006-6

DO - 10.1016/0040-5809(79)90006-6

M3 - Article

VL - 16

SP - 48

EP - 80

JO - Theoretical Population Biology

T2 - Theoretical Population Biology

JF - Theoretical Population Biology

SN - 0040-5809

IS - 1

ER -