The abundances of predators and their prey can oscillate in time. Mathematical theory of predator–prey systems predicts that in predator–prey cycles, peaks in prey abundance precede peaks in predator abundance. However, these models do not consider how the evolution of predator and prey traits related to offense and defense will affect the ordering and timing of peaks. Here we show that predator–prey coevolution can effectively reverse the ordering of peaks in predator–prey cycles, i.e., peaks in predator abundance precede peaks in prey abundance. We present examples from three distinct systems that exhibit reversed cycles, suggesting that coevolution may be an important driver of cycles in those systems.
Coevolution can reverse predator–prey cycles
Michael H. Cortez and Joshua S. Weitz
PNAS vol. 111 no. 20, pp. 7486–7491