Table of Contents
ISRN Ecology
Volume 2011, Article ID 376083, 8 pages
Research Article

Responses to the Foraging/Predation Risk Trade-Off and Individual Variability in Population-Level Fitness Correlates

1Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, 1101 E 57th Street, Chicago IL 60637, USA
2Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service, 1133 N. Western Avenue, Wenatchee WA 98801, USA

Received 8 March 2011; Accepted 4 April 2011

Academic Editor: P.-A Amundsen

Copyright © 2011 Karl M. Polivka. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Foraging under the influence of interspecific interactions such as competition and predation risk can have effects on the energetic reserves of the forager. Measurements of condition in species such as fish are usually correlated with individual fecundity and, hence, fitness. From work in two study systems in which predation risk regulates habitat selection and foraging behavior of benthic fishes I examined whether risk dependence led to reduced variability in fish condition. In field populations of cottid fishes, observed in an estuarine system and in the near-shore habitat of an oligotrophic lake, I found that individuals that experienced higher predation risk showed reduced variability in CI. Estuarine cottids with high food availability and substantial predation risk varied less in CI among individuals than in the associated tidal creek. In the lake, where there is considerable heterogeneity in benthic food resources, a related cottid species showed reduced variation in CI with increasing predation risk from adults. Finally, I examine my previous experiments showing that the estuarine species is limited in its use of high resource availability in estuaries by competition and predation risk. Here I found that variability in individual condition index (CI) was higher when intraspecific and interspecific competition increased and did not increase in the face of predation risk.