Emergence of ratio-dependent and predator-dependent functional responses for pollination mutualism and seed parasitism

Donald L. DeAngelis, J. Nathaniel Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Prey (N) dependence [g(N)], predator (P) dependence [g(P) or g(N,P)], and ratio dependence [f(P/N)] are often seen as contrasting forms of the predator's functional response describing predator consumption rates on prey resources in predator-prey and parasitoid-host interactions. Analogously, prey-, predator-, and ratio-dependent functional responses are apparently alternative functional responses for other types of consumer-resource interactions. These include, for example, the fraction of flowers pollinated or seeds parasitized in pollination (pre-dispersal) seed-parasitism mutualisms, such as those between fig wasps and fig trees or yucca moths and yucca plants. Here we examine the appropriate functional responses for how the fraction of flowers pollinated and seeds parasitized vary with the density of pollinators (predator dependence) or the ratio of pollinator and flower densities (ratio dependence). We show that both types of functional responses can emerge from minor, but biologically important variations on a single model. An individual-based model was first used to describe plant-pollinator interactions. Conditional upon on whether the number of flowers visited by the pollinator was limited by factors other than search time (e.g., by the number of eggs it had to lay, if it was also a seed parasite), and on whether the pollinator could directly find flowers on a plant, or had to search, the simulation results lead to either a predator-dependent or a ratio-dependent functional response. An analytic model was then used to show mathematically how these two cases can arise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-556
Number of pages6
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Feb 5 2006


  • Consumer-resource model
  • Individual-based model
  • Pollination
  • Predator-dependent functional response
  • Ratio-dependent functional response
  • Seed parasitism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Ecology


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