Behaviour 2019
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Modeling reciprocal contextual plasticity between predators and prey exhibiting optimal behaviors
Travis J Klee, Nicholas W Martin, Zuania Colón-Piñeiro, Brittany L Buchanan, Pratush Brahma, Claudia J Garnica Díaz, Lillian K Hendrick, Colette M St. Mary. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, United States

Predator-prey interactions are fundamental to community ecology. Yet, our understanding of the reciprocal responses and the contextual plasticity taking place on a fine timescale is lacking. Here we used an optimality modeling approach to show how both predators and prey respond to each other throughout a day. By combining two independent dynamic state variable models, for predators and prey, we predict behavior over a 14-hour period (a day). We then characterized detailed predator-prey interactions using a forward iteration agent-based model. By altering predator foraging costs, prey value, and  the benefits of prey shoaling, we evaluated how these interactions respond to changes in prey behavior and morphology-dependent vulnerability, such as defensive and non-defensive phenotypes, body size or developmental stage. Results from this study show the dynamic game between predators and prey on a finer timescale and in more detail than has previously been shown.