What are the consequences of behaviour for population dynamics and ecosystem functions?

Friday 07 May 21


Ken Haste Andersen
Professor, Head of Section
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 33 99


Andre Visser
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 34 25

Researchers from the Centre for Ocean Life developed a new method to address simultaneously changes in behaviour and population dynamics for several populations.

Individuals from different species react to each other, and adjust their behaviour to the behaviours of other organisms within a food-web. Previous studies usually considered that only individuals from one population at a time could change their behaviour, or that populations had fixed biomasses but that individuals could adjust their behaviours.

Here, using a method that relies on game theory, researchers from the Centre for Ocean Life could investigate the changes in both population dynamics and behaviours for two populations simultaneously -- one of prey and one of predators. By comparing their approach to other theoretical models (taking into account either behaviour or population dynamics, but not both), they showed that population biomasses at equilibrium and resulting ecosystem functions (trophic transfer efficiency, carbon export) were significantly different than when considering only population dynamics or behavioural changes. Their work highlights the need to consider behaviour in multi-trophic population modelling studies, at the risk of getting inaccurate predictions of population biomasses and ecosystem functions.

link to the paper: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022519321000850

16 JUNE 2021