Non-omnivorous generality promotes population stability Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Using a combination of stable isotope analysis of δ 13 C and δ 15 N 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 δ 13 C, an indication of a greater range of distinct carbon sources in their diet, have more stable populations than species with lower variation in δ 13 C. This link between increased isotope variability and reduced population variability, however, did not hold for δ 15 N. 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.


  • Romanuk, Tamara N
  • Beisner, Beatrix E
  • Martinez, Neo D
  • Kolasa, Jurek

publication date

  • September 22, 2006