Non-omnivorous generality promotes population stability
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Using a combination of stable isotope analysis of delta13C and delta15N and long-term census data on population abundances for meiofauna in tropical aquatic rock pools, we provide evidence that species which exhibit greater variation in delta13C, an indication of a greater range of distinct carbon sources in their diet, have more stable populations than species with lower variation in delta13C. This link between increased isotope variability and reduced population variability, however, did not hold for delta15N. This suggests that increases in population stability were due to non-omnivorous feeding on multiple carbon sources within a trophic level rather than omnivorous feeding on multiple carbon sources across trophic levels. Our findings corroborate MacArthur's original hypothesis that populations that can access a greater range of resources are more stable than those which consume a more restricted range of resources.
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