Individual variation

For us, Homo sapiens, it is clear that what we eat and how we prefer to eat some things over others affects not only our own bodies but collectively has important ramifications for the ways we, as individuals, affect the world around us. Not surprisingly, other animals who are “generalist” predators as a population exhibit diet specialization at the individual level as well, but the scope, patterns, and community-level consequences of this form of intraspecific variation remain poorly resolved. The goal is to go beyond appropriately documenting and describing the variation that exists among individuals, to understanding when (and when not) its consideration is necessary. This is particularly challenging given the reticulate and potentially nonlinear nature of species interactions in species-rich systems.