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  • 1 Benaki Phytopathological Institute, St. Delta 8, Kifissia, 14561, Greece
  • | 2 University of Nottingham, University Park, NG7 2RD, UK
  • | 3 Athens University of Economics and Business, Patission 76, Athens, 10434, Greece
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The dynamics of predator-prey systems relate strongly to the density (in)dependent attributes of the predator’s feeding rate, i.e., its functional response. The outcome of functional response models is often used in theoretical or applied ecology in order to extract information about the mechanisms associated with the feeding behavior of predators. The focus of this study centres upon Holling’s type II functional response model, commonly known as the disc equation, which describes an inverse-density dependent mortality caused by a single predator to its prey. A common method to provide inference on functional response data involves nonlinear least squares optimization, assuming independent Gaussian errors, an assumption often violated in practice due to the heteroscedasticity which is typically present in the data. Moreover, as prey depletion is common in functional response experiments, the differential form of disc equation ought to be used in principle. We introduce a related statistical model and adopt a Bayesian approach for estimating parameters in ordinary differential equation models. In addition, we explore model uncertainty via Bayes factors. Our approach is illustrated via the analysis of several data sets concerning the functional response of a widespread ladybird beetle (Propylea quatuordecimpunctata) to its prey (Aphis fabae), predicting the efficiency of this predator on a common and important aphid species. The results showed that the approach developed in this study is towards a direction for accurate estimation of the parameters that determine the shape of the functional response of a predator without having to make unnecessary assumptions. The R ( code for fitting the proposed model to experimental data is made freely available.

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Senior editors

Editor(s)-in-Chief: Podani, János

Editor(s)-in-Chief: Jordán, Ferenc

Honorary Editor(s): Orlóci, László

Editorial Board

  • Madhur Anand, CAN (forest ecology, computational ecology, and ecological complexity)
  • S. Bagella, ITA (temporal dynamics, including succession, community level patterns of species richness and diversity, experimental studies of plant, animal and microbial communities, plant communities of the Mediterranean)
  • P. Batáry, HUN (landscape ecology, agroecology, ecosystem services)
  • P. A. V. Borges, PRT (community level patterns of species richness and diversity, sampling in theory and practice)
  • A. Davis, GER (supervised learning, multitrophic interactions, food webs, multivariate analysis, ecological statistics, experimental design, fractals, parasitoids, species diversity, community assembly, ticks, biodiversity, climate change, biological networks, cranes, olfactometry, evolution)
  • Z. Elek, HUN (insect ecology, invertebrate conservation, population dynamics, especially of long-term field studies, insect sampling)
  • T. Kalapos, HUN (community level plant ecophysiology, grassland ecology, vegetation-soil relationship)
  • G. M. Kovács, HUN (microbial ecology, plant-fungus interactions, mycorrhizas)
  • W. C. Liu,TWN (community-based ecological theory and modelling issues, temporal dynamics, including succession, trophic interactions, competition, species response to the environment)
  • L. Mucina, AUS (vegetation survey, syntaxonomy, evolutionary community ecology, assembly rules, global vegetation patterns, mediterranean ecology)
  • P. Ódor, HUN (plant communities, bryophyte ecology, numerical methods)
  • F. Rigal, FRA (island biogeography, macroecology, functional diversity, arthropod ecology)
  • D. Rocchini, ITA (biodiversity, multiple scales, spatial scales, species distribution, spatial ecology, remote sensing, ecological informatics, computational ecology)
  • F. Samu, HUN (landscape ecology, biological control, generalist predators, spiders, arthropods, conservation biology, sampling methods)
  • U. Scharler, ZAF (ecological networks, food webs, estuaries, marine, mangroves, stoichiometry, temperate, subtropical)
  • D. Schmera, HUN (aquatic communities, functional diversity, ecological theory)
  • M. Scotti, GER (community-based ecological theory and modelling issues, trophic interactions, competition, species response to the environment, ecological networks)
  • B. Tóthmérész, HUN (biodiversity, soil zoology, spatial models, macroecology, ecological modeling)
  • S. Wollrab, GER (aquatic ecology, food web dynamics, plankton ecology, predator-prey interactions)


Advisory Board

  • S. Bartha, HUN
  • S.L. Collins, USA
  • T. Czárán, HUN
  • E. Feoli, ITA
  • N. Kenkel, CAN
  • J. Lepš, CZE
  • S. Mazzoleni, ITA
  • Cs. Moskát, HUN
  • B. Oborny, HUN
  • M.W. Palmer, USA
  • G.P. Patil, USA
  • V. de Patta Pillar, BRA
  • C. Ricotta, ITA
  • Á. Szentesi, HUN



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Community Ecology
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ISSN 1585-8553 (Print)
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