A Computer Simulation of Dietary Competition Among Seven Consumers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Interactive feeding among a group of vertebrates in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was simulated. Consumer density, biomass production, consumer consumption rates, and seasonal food habits of adults of each species were calculated using field or literature values. The consumers included the European wild hog, black bear, raccoon, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, three sciurid species, and several rodents. The sciurids and rodents were considered as two respective canonical groups making a total ofseven consumer groups. Values of requisite parameters were allowed to vary randomly. Simulations were run for five years at one-half month intervals with a four-year comparison period. The European wild hog did not compete with the other consumers even when their population was doubled. The sciurids were the major competitors. The black bear was the consumer best able to cope with the vicissitudes of life in the Park; however, all consumers gave evidence of being able to usually find enough to eat by relying on alternate foods.

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