Date of this Version
Biology Letters 10: 20140261 (2014); doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2014.0261
The parameters that drive population dynamics typically show a relationship with body size. By contrast, there is no theoretical or empirical support for a body-size dependence of mutual interference, which links foraging rates to consumer density. Here, I develop a model to predict that interference may be positively or negatively related to body size depending on how resource body size scales with consumer body size. Over a wide range of body sizes, however, the model predicts that interference will be body-size independent. This prediction was supported by a new data set on interference and consumer body size. The stabilizing effect of intermediate interference therefore appears to be roughly constant across size, while the effect of body size on population dynamics is mediated through other parameters.