Coexistence of Predator and Prey in Intraguild Predation systems with Ontogenetic Niche Shifts

V. Hin, T. Schellekens, L. Persson, A.M. Roos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


In basic intraguild predation (IGP) systems, predators and prey also compete for a shared resource. Theory predicts that persistence of these systems is possible when intraguild prey is superior in competition and productivity is not too high. IGP often results from ontogenetic niche shifts, in which the diet of intraguild predators changes as a result of growth in body size (life-history omnivory). As a juvenile, a life-history omnivore competes with the species that becomes its prey later in life. Competition can hence limit growth of young predators, while adult predators can suppress consumers and therewith neutralize negative effects of competition. We formulate and analyze a stage-structured model that captures both basic IGP and life-history omnivory. The model predicts increasing coexistence of predators and consumers when resource use of stage-structured predators becomes more stage specific. This coexistence depends on adult predators requiring consumer biomass for reproduction and is less likely when consumers outcompete juvenile predators, in contrast to basic IGP. Therefore, coexistence occurs when predation structures the community and competition is negligible. Consequently, equilibrium patterns over productivity resemble those of three-species food chains. Life-history omnivory thus provides a mechanism that allows intraguild predators and prey to coexist over a wide range of resource productivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-714
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • trophic cascades
  • body-size
  • alternative states
  • community dynamics
  • food webs
  • competition
  • omnivory
  • productivity
  • cannibalism
  • ecosystems

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