The ideal free pike: 50 years of fitness-maximising dispersal in Windermere

Haugen, Thrond O.; Winfield, Ian J.; Vollestad, L. Asbjorn; Fletcher, Janice M.; James, J. Ben; Stenseth, Nils Chr.. 2006 The ideal free pike: 50 years of fitness-maximising dispersal in Windermere. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 273. 2917-2924.

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The ideal free distribution (IFD) theory is one of the most influential theories in evolutionary ecology. It predicts how animals ought to distribute themselves within a heterogeneous habitat in order to maximize lifetime fitness. We test the population level consequence of the IFD theory using 40-year worth data on pike (Esox lucius) living in a natural lake divided into two basins. We do so by employing empirically derived density-dependent survival, dispersal and fecundity functions in the estimation of basin-specific density-dependent fitness surfaces. The intersection of the fitness surfaces for the two basins is used for deriving expected spatial distributions of pike. Comparing the derived expected spatial distributions with 50 years data of the actual spatial distribution demonstrated that pike is ideal free distributed within the lake. In general, there was a net migration from the less productive north basin to the more productive south basin. However, a pike density-manipulation experiment imposing shifting pike density gradients between the two basins managed to switch the net migration direction and hence clearly demonstrated that the Windermere pike choose their habitat in an ideal free manner. Demonstration of ideal free habitat selection on an operational field scale like this has never been undertaken before.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Water
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: _ Ecosystem Assessment & Forecasting
Additional Keywords: density dependence, predator–prey interaction, habitat use, dispersal, Esox lucius
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 02 May 2008 08:08 +0 (UTC)

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