Explaining the coexistence of multiple species in the competition and predation theatre has proven a great challenge. Traditional intraguild predation (IGP) models have only relatively small regions of stable coexistence of all species. Here, we investigate potential additional mechanisms that extend these regions of stable coexistence. We used a 3-species Lotka–Volterra system to which we added an interaction term to model a unidirectional facilitative relationship between the two predators in the IGP. In this modelling study the IG predator was able to precondition a part of the common resource by an instantaneous manipulation, which resulted in the immobilization of the resource species. This mechanism of immobilization facilitated the resource uptake by the IG prey and thus increased its growth rates even in the presence of the common predator. The facilitative relationship of the IG prey by the IG predator produced a stable coexistence of both predators even though the IG prey was an inferior competitor for a common resource, which cannot be attained with the traditional IGP models. Furthermore, our model predicted a 3-species stable coexistence even at high enrichment where no coexistence was found in the basic IGP model. Thus, we showed that diversity of resource traits could significantly alter emergent community patterns via shifts in exploitative competition of IGP-related predators. The described mechanism could potentially lead to a higher efficiency in exploitation of common resources and thus promote higher diversity in a real community.
AWI Organizations > Biosciences > Coastal Ecology