Integrating Mimicry into Community Ecology
There is a wealth of knowledge on how signals evolve between individuals of the same species or between two species, but we know very little about how rich, natural communities affect signal evolution. Even more strikingly, we have little theory or little data on how signalling between species can, in turn, affect the dynamics of their communities. Our Focus Group will investigate the dynamical feedback between communication and the structure of ecological communities.
We will focus on issues that have heretofore largely been ignored. More specifically, we will study:
- how the evolutionary dynamics of mimicry change if the populations of models and mimics do or do not compete for the same resources (the latter is assumed in classic Müllerian mimicry theory),
- whether indirect interactions between warning-colored prey and their predators influence population dynamics (via apparent competition and related mechanisms), and
- how mimicry evolves when predators can share information about which prey phenotypes are most profitable.
The members of the Focus Group are: Johanna Mappes, Marie E. (Mariella) Herberstein, and David Kikuchi.