The author studies predator-prey interactions when prey refuges are present. According to the author it is widely believed that this situation prevents prey extinction and serves to damp predator-prey oscillations. His review of the literature suggests that refuges indeed play the former role in empirical studies but that the later view is based on theoretical studies of extremely simple models. The purpose of this paper is to study prey refuges using more realistic models.
The analysis of his models shows that effects of refuges on predator-prey interactions can be complex and varied. For example, a refuge can either contribute to or detract from the stability of an equilibrium point and can either increase or decrease the tendency of prey and predator to oscillate. The only traditional view which his work supports is that the presence of refuges increases the equilibrium population sizes of both predator and prey. However, he points out that reasonable models can be constructed in which even this property fails and urges further studies to find exactly when it occurs.
The paper concludes with suggested experiments to obtain more empirical knowledge of predator-prey interactions with refuges present.