Predators, parasitoids, and pathogens: A cross-cutting examination of intraguild predation theory

Elizabeth T. Borer, Cheryl J. Briggs, Robert D. Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Although the canonical concept of intraguild predation evokes images of predators and prey, several subdisciplines within ecology have developed theory not specifically framed in terms of predation and competition and often using system-specific terminology, yet functionally quite similar. Here, we formulate models combining exploitation and competition in predator-prey, host-parasitoid, and host-pathogen communities to compare dynamics, food web structure, and coexistence criteria for these disparate communities. Although dynamic stability in the coexistence region varies strongly among systems, in all cases coexistence of two consumers on a single resource occurs only if the intraguild prey species is more efficient than the intraguild predator at suppressing the abundance of the basal resource, and if the intraguild predator accrues a sufficient gain from attacking the intraguild prey. In addition, equilibrial abundances of all species in all three formulations respond similarly to increases in productivity of the basal resource. Our understanding of predator-prey and parasitoid-host communities has benefited from explicit examination of intraguild predation (IGP) theory, and we suggest that future research examining pathogen communities, in particular, will benefit substantially from explicit recognition of predictions from IGP theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2681-2688
Number of pages8
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Coexistence
  • Community module
  • Competition
  • Disease transmission
  • Exploitation
  • Food web
  • Heuristic model
  • Trophic interactions

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