Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

American Naturalist






University of Chicago Press

Publication Date

Summer 7-7-2016

First Page


Last Page



Evolution can alter the stability and dynamics of ecological communities; for example, prey evolution can drive cyclic dynamics in predator-prey systems that are not possible in the absence of evolution. However, it is unclear how the magnitude of additive genetic variation in the evolving species mediates those effects. In this study, I explore how the magnitude of prey additive genetic variation determines what effects prey evolution has on the dynamics and stability of predator-prey systems. I use linear stability analysis to decompose the stability of a general eco-evolutionary predator-prey model into components representing the stabilities of the ecological and evolutionary subsystems as well as the interactions between those subsystems. My results show that with low genetic variation, the cyclic dynamics and stability of the system are determined by the ecological subsystem. With increased genetic variation, disruptive selection always destabilizes stable communities, stabilizing selection can stabilize or destabilize communities, and prey evolution can alter predator-prey phase lags. Stability changes occur approximately when the magnitude of genetic variation balances the (in)stabilities of the ecological and evolutionary subsystems. I discuss the connections between my stability results and prior results from the theory of adaptive dynamics. å© 2016 by The University of Chicago.