Evolution of mixed strategies of plant defense allocation against natural enemies.
In this study we present a simple optimization model for the evolution of defensive strategies (tolerance and resistance) of plants against their natural enemies. The model specifically evaluates the consequences of introducing variable costs and benefits of tolerance and resistance and nonlinear cost-and-benefit functions for tolerance and resistance. Incorporating these assumptions, the present model of plant defense predicts different evolutionary scenarios, not expected by previous work. Basically, the presence of an adaptive peak corresponding to intermediate levels of allocation to tolerance and resistance can arise when the shape parameter of the cost function is higher than the corresponding of the benefit function. The presence of two alternatives peaks of maximum tolerance and maximum resistance occurs only when benefits of tolerance and resistance interact less than additive. Finally, the presence of one peak of maximum resistance or maximum tolerance depends on the relative values of the magnitude of costs for tolerance and resistance. An important outcome of our model is that under a plausible set of conditions, variable costs of tolerance and resistance can represent an important aspect involved in the maintenance of intermediate levels of tolerance and resistance, and in favoring adaptive divergence in plant defensive strategies among populations. The model offers a framework for future theoretical and empirical work toward understanding spatial variation in levels of allocation to different defensive strategies.
Fornoni, J; Núñez-Farfán, J; Valverde, PL; Rausher, MD
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