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Resource Specialization and Equilibrium Population Size in Patchy Environments

By Charles E. King


A simple model is formulated in which the growth of a consumer population is regulated by the diversity, quantity, and quality of alternate environmental resources. Equilibrium population size is dependent not only upon these resource characteristics, but upon the pattern of resource exploitation by the consumer. It is proven that in many circumstances, an exploitation pattern in which each individual uses each of the alternate resources leads to a greater equilibrium size for the consumer population than does a pattern of resource specialization. Therefore, given a knowledge of resource qualities, it is possible to predict the exploitation pattern that will lead to the largest equilibrium population size for the consumer species

Topics: Biological Sciences: Zoology
Year: 1971
DOI identifier: 10.1073/pnas.68.11.2634
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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