The impact of specialised enemies on the dimensionality of host dynamics

O.N. Bjørnstad Steven M. Sait, Nils Chr. Stenseth, David J. Thompson and Michael Begon: The impact of specialised enemies on the dimensionality of host dynamics.

Nature (2001) 401: 1001-1006.


Each species persists within a web of interactions with other species, but data are usually gathered only from the focal species itself. It is therefore of great importance to know whether evidence of a species' interactions can be detected and understood from patterns in its dynamics. Theory predicts that strong coupling between a prey and a specialist predator/parasite should lead to an increase in the dimensionality of the prey's dynamics, whereas weak coupling should not. Here, we describe a rare test of this prediction. Two natural enemies were added, separately, to replicate populations of a moth. For biological reasons we identify, the prediction of increased dimensionality was confirmed when a parasitoid wasp was added (though this increase had subtleties not previously appreciated), but the prediction failed for an added virus. Hence, an imprint of the interaction may indeed be discerned within time series data from a system's component species.

Commenatry: Hochberg, M. E., and A. E. Weis. 2001. Ecology - Bagging the lag. Nature 409:992-993