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Sample records for manipulated predation risk

  1. An island-wide predator manipulation reveals immediate and long-lasting matching of risk by prey

    PubMed Central

    Orrock, John L.; Fletcher, Robert J.

    2014-01-01

    Anti-predator behaviour affects prey population dynamics, mediates cascading effects in food webs and influences the likelihood of rapid extinctions. Predator manipulations in natural settings provide a rare opportunity to understand how prey anti-predator behaviour is affected by large-scale changes in predators. Here, we couple a long-term, island-wide manipulation of an important rodent predator, the island fox (Urocyon littoralis), with nearly 6 years of measurements on foraging by deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) to provide unequivocal evidence that prey closely match their foraging behaviour to the number of fox predators present on the island. Peromyscus maniculatus foraging among exposed and sheltered microhabitats (a measure of aversion to predation risk) closely tracked fox density, but the nature of this effect depended upon nightly environmental conditions known to affect rodent susceptibility to predators. These effects could not be explained by changes in density of deer mice over time. Our work reveals that prey in natural settings are cognizant of the dynamic nature of their predators over timescales that span many years, and that predator removals spanning many generations of prey do not result in a loss of anti-predator behaviour. PMID:24759863

  2. Behavioural and physiological responses of wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) to experimental manipulations of predation and starvation risk.

    PubMed

    Monarca, Rita I; Mathias, Maria da Luz; Speakman, John R

    2015-10-01

    Body weight and the levels of stored body fat have fitness consequences. Greater levels of fat may provide protection against catastrophic failures in the food supply, but they may also increase the risk of predation. Animals may therefore regulate their fatness according to their perceived risks of predation and starvation: the starvation-predation trade-off model. We tested the predictions of this model in wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) by experimentally manipulating predation risk and starvation risk. We predicted that under increased predation risk individuals would lose weight and under increased starvation risk they would gain it. We simulated increased predation risk by playing the calls made by predatory birds (owls: Tyto alba and Bubo bubo) to the mice. Control groups included exposure to calls of a non-predatory bird (blackbird: Turdus merula) or silence. Mice exposed to owl calls at night lost weight relative to the silence group, mediated via reduced food intake, but exposure to owl calls in the day had no significant effect. Exposure to blackbird calls at night also resulted in weight loss, but blackbird calls in the day had no effect. Mice seemed to have a generalised response to bird calls at night irrespective of their actual source. This could be because in the wild any bird calling at night will be a predation risk, and any bird calling in the day would not be, because at that time the mice would normally be resting, and hence not exposed to avian predators. Consequently, mice have not evolved to distinguish different types of call but only to respond to the time of day that they occur. Mice exposed to stochastic 24h starvation events altered their behaviour (reduced activity) during the refeeding days that followed the deprivation periods to regain the lost mass. However, they only marginally elevated their food intake and consequently had reduced body weight/fat storage compared to that of the control unstarved group. This response may have

  3. Floral asymmetry and predation risk modify pollinator behavior, but only predation risk decreases plant fitness.

    PubMed

    Antiqueira, Pablo Augusto Poleto; Romero, Gustavo Quevedo

    2016-06-01

    Although predators and floral herbivores can potentially decrease plant fitness by changing pollinator behaviors, studies comparing the strength of these factors as well as their additive and interactive effects on pollinator visitation and plant fitness have not been conducted. In this study, we manipulated the floral symmetry and predator presence (artificial crab spiders) on the flowers of the shrub Rubus rosifolius (Rosaceae) in a 2 × 2 factorial randomized block design. We found that asymmetry and predators decreased pollinator visitation (mainly hymenopterans), and overall these factors did not interact (additive effects). The effect of predation risk on pollinator avoidance behavior was 62 % higher than that of floral asymmetry. Furthermore, path analyses revealed that only predation risk cascaded down to plant fitness, and it significantly decreased fruit biomass by 33 % and seed number by 28 %. We also demonstrated that R. rosifolius fitness is indirectly affected by visiting and avoidance behaviors of pollinators. The strong avoidance behavioral response triggered by predation risk may be related to predator pressure upon flowers. Although floral asymmetry caused by herbivory can alter the quality of resources, it should not exert the same evolutionary pressure as that of predator-prey interactions. Our study highlights the importance of considering simultaneous forces, such as predation risk and floral asymmetry, as well as pollinator behavior when evaluating ecological processes involving mutualistic plant-pollinator systems. PMID:26861474

  4. Risk communication in sexually violent predator hearings.

    PubMed

    Scott, Sarah; Gilcrist, Brett; Thurston, Nicole; Huss, Matthew T

    2010-01-01

    Sexually violent predator (SVP) laws use the civil commitment process to confine mentally disordered and dangerous offenders who are at high risk to reoffend. Few studies have examined how jurors decide SVP cases. As a result, a pilot study and three experimental studies were conducted, in which victim type, risk communication, and juror education were manipulated to assess juror response. Results continually illustrated that victim type was the most salient manipulation across studies and that the manner of risk communication and juror education had little impact on jurors. PMID:19908210

  5. Prey perception of predation risk: volatile chemical cues mediate non-consumptive effects of a predator on a herbivorous insect.

    PubMed

    Hermann, Sara L; Thaler, Jennifer S

    2014-11-01

    Predators can affect prey in two ways-by reducing their density (consumptive effects) or by changing their behavior, physiology or other phenotypic traits (non-consumptive effects). Understanding the cues and sensory modalities prey use to detect predators is critical for predicting the strength of non-consumptive effects and the outcome of predator-prey encounters. While predator-associated cues have been well studied in aquatic systems, less is known about how terrestrial prey, particularly insect larvae, detect their predators. We evaluated how Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata, larvae perceive predation risk by isolating cues from its stink bug predator, the spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris. When exposed to male "risk" predators that were surgically manipulated so they could hunt but not kill, beetles reduced feeding 29% compared to controls. Exposure to risk females caused an intermediate response. Beetles ate 24% less on leaves pre-exposed to predators compared to leaves never exposed to predators, indicating that tactile and visual cues are not required for the prey's response. Volatile odor cues from predators reduced beetle feeding by 10% overall, although male predators caused a stronger reduction than females. Finally, visual cues from the predator had a weak effect on beetle feeding. Because multiple cues appear to be involved in prey perception of risk, and because male and female predators have differential effects, beetle larvae likely experience tremendous variation in the information about risk from their local environment. PMID:25234373

  6. Mesopredator suppression by an apex predator alleviates the risk of predation perceived by small prey.

    PubMed

    Gordon, Christopher E; Feit, Anna; Grüber, Jennifer; Letnic, Mike

    2015-03-01

    Predators can impact their prey via consumptive effects that occur through direct killing, and via non-consumptive effects that arise when the behaviour and phenotypes of prey shift in response to the risk of predation. Although predators' consumptive effects can have cascading population-level effects on species at lower trophic levels there is less evidence that predators' non-consumptive effects propagate through ecosystems. Here we provide evidence that suppression of abundance and activity of a mesopredator (the feral cat) by an apex predator (the dingo) has positive effects on both abundance and foraging efficiency of a desert rodent. Then by manipulating predators' access to food patches we further the idea that apex predators provide small prey with refuge from predation by showing that rodents increased their habitat breadth and use of 'risky' food patches where an apex predator was common but mesopredators rare. Our study suggests that apex predators' suppressive effects on mesopredators extend to alleviate both mesopredators' consumptive and non-consumptive effects on prey. PMID:25652837

  7. Mesopredator suppression by an apex predator alleviates the risk of predation perceived by small prey

    PubMed Central

    Gordon, Christopher E.; Feit, Anna; Grüber, Jennifer; Letnic, Mike

    2015-01-01

    Predators can impact their prey via consumptive effects that occur through direct killing, and via non-consumptive effects that arise when the behaviour and phenotypes of prey shift in response to the risk of predation. Although predators' consumptive effects can have cascading population-level effects on species at lower trophic levels there is less evidence that predators' non-consumptive effects propagate through ecosystems. Here we provide evidence that suppression of abundance and activity of a mesopredator (the feral cat) by an apex predator (the dingo) has positive effects on both abundance and foraging efficiency of a desert rodent. Then by manipulating predators' access to food patches we further the idea that apex predators provide small prey with refuge from predation by showing that rodents increased their habitat breadth and use of ‘risky′ food patches where an apex predator was common but mesopredators rare. Our study suggests that apex predators' suppressive effects on mesopredators extend to alleviate both mesopredators' consumptive and non-consumptive effects on prey. PMID:25652837

  8. Intraguild relationships between sympatric predators exposed to lethal control: predator manipulation experiments

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Introduction Terrestrial top-predators are expected to regulate and stabilise food webs through their consumptive and non-consumptive effects on sympatric mesopredators and prey. The lethal control of top-predators has therefore been predicted to inhibit top-predator function, generate the release of mesopredators and indirectly harm native fauna through trophic cascade effects. Understanding the outcomes of lethal control on interactions within terrestrial predator guilds is important for zoologists, conservation biologists and wildlife managers. However, few studies have the capacity to test these predictions experimentally, and no such studies have previously been conducted on the eclectic suite of native and exotic, mammalian and reptilian taxa we simultaneously assess. We conducted a series of landscape-scale, multi-year, manipulative experiments at nine sites spanning five ecosystem types across the Australian continental rangelands to investigate the responses of mesopredators (red foxes, feral cats and goannas) to contemporary poison-baiting programs intended to control top-predators (dingoes) for livestock protection. Result Short-term behavioural releases of mesopredators were not apparent, and in almost all cases, the three mesopredators we assessed were in similar or greater abundance in unbaited areas relative to baited areas, with mesopredator abundance trends typically either uncorrelated or positively correlated with top-predator abundance trends over time. The exotic mammals and native reptile we assessed responded similarly (poorly) to top-predator population manipulation. This is because poison baits were taken by multiple target and non-target predators and top-predator populations quickly recovered to pre-control levels, thus reducing the overall impact of baiting on top-predators and averting a trophic cascade. Conclusions These results are in accord with other predator manipulation experiments conducted worldwide, and suggest that Australian

  9. Field evidence for non-host predator avoidance in a manipulated amphipod.

    PubMed

    Médoc, Vincent; Beisel, Jean-Nicolas

    2009-04-01

    Manipulative parasites are known to alter the spatial distribution of their intermediate hosts in a way that enables trophic transmission to definitive hosts. However, field data on the ecological implications of such changes are lacking. In particular, little is known about the spatial coexistence between infected prey and dead-end predators after a parasite-induced habitat shift. Here, we used an Amphipoda (Gammarus roeseli)-Acanthocephala (Polymorphus minutus) association to investigate how infection with a manipulative parasite affects the predation risk by non-hosts within the invertebrate community. First, we collected invertebrates by sampling various natural habitats and calculated the distribution amplitude of amphipods according to their infection status. Infection with P. minutus significantly reduced the habitat breadth in G. roeseli, parasitised individuals being mainly found in floating materials whereas uninfected ones were widespread throughout the sampled habitats. Second, to test if these changes also affect the risk for P. minutus to be ingested by non-hosts, we estimated the predation risk experienced by G. roeseli within the macro-invertebrate community. The habitat overlap between potential invertebrate predators and G. roeseli showed that the spatial probability of encounter was lower for P. minutus-infected amphipods than for uninfected conspecifics. For the first time, to our knowledge, a study used ecological tools to bring field evidence for the spatial avoidance of dead-end predators in a manipulated amphipod. PMID:19139837

  10. Field evidence for non-host predator avoidance in a manipulated amphipod

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Médoc, Vincent; Beisel, Jean-Nicolas

    2009-04-01

    Manipulative parasites are known to alter the spatial distribution of their intermediate hosts in a way that enables trophic transmission to definitive hosts. However, field data on the ecological implications of such changes are lacking. In particular, little is known about the spatial coexistence between infected prey and dead-end predators after a parasite-induced habitat shift. Here, we used an Amphipoda ( Gammarus roeseli)-Acanthocephala ( Polymorphus minutus) association to investigate how infection with a manipulative parasite affects the predation risk by non-hosts within the invertebrate community. First, we collected invertebrates by sampling various natural habitats and calculated the distribution amplitude of amphipods according to their infection status. Infection with P. minutus significantly reduced the habitat breadth in G. roeseli, parasitised individuals being mainly found in floating materials whereas uninfected ones were widespread throughout the sampled habitats. Second, to test if these changes also affect the risk for P. minutus to be ingested by non-hosts, we estimated the predation risk experienced by G. roeseli within the macro-invertebrate community. The habitat overlap between potential invertebrate predators and G. roeseli showed that the spatial probability of encounter was lower for P. minutus-infected amphipods than for uninfected conspecifics. For the first time, to our knowledge, a study used ecological tools to bring field evidence for the spatial avoidance of dead-end predators in a manipulated amphipod.

  11. Escaping peril: perceived predation risk affects migratory propensity

    PubMed Central

    Hulthén, Kaj; Chapman, Ben B.; Nilsson, P. Anders; Vinterstare, Jerker; Hansson, Lars-Anders; Skov, Christian; Brodersen, Jakob; Baktoft, Henrik; Brönmark, Christer

    2015-01-01

    Although migratory plasticity is increasingly documented, the ecological drivers of plasticity are not well understood. Predation risk can influence migratory dynamics, but whether seasonal migrants can adjust their migratory behaviour according to perceived risk is unknown. We used electronic tags to record the migration of individual roach (Rutilus rutilus), a partially migratory fish, in the wild following exposure to manipulation of direct (predator presence/absence) and indirect (high/low roach density) perceived predation risk in experimental mesocosms. Following exposure, we released fish in their lake summer habitat and monitored individual migration to connected streams over an entire season. Individuals exposed to increased perceived direct predation risk (i.e. a live predator) showed a higher migratory propensity but no change in migratory timing, while indirect risk (i.e. roach density) affected timing but not propensity showing that elevated risk carried over to alter migratory behaviour in the wild. Our key finding demonstrates predator-driven migratory plasticity, highlighting the powerful role of predation risk for migratory decision-making and dynamics. PMID:26311158

  12. Habitat selection responses of parents to offspring predation risk: An experimental test

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fontaine, J.J.; Martin, T.E.

    2006-01-01

    The ability of nest predation to influence habitat settlement decisions in birds is widely debated, despite its importance in limiting fitness. Here, we experimentally manipulated nest predation risk across a landscape and asked the question, do migratory birds assess and respond to variation in nest predation risk when choosing breeding habitats? We examined habitat preference by quantifying the density and settlement date of eight species of migratory passerines breeding in areas with and without intact nest predator communities. We found consistently more individuals nesting in areas with reduced nest predation than in areas with intact predator assemblages, although predation risk had no influence on settlement or breeding phenology. Additionally, those individuals occupying safer nesting habitats exhibited increased singing activity. These findings support a causal relationship between habitat choice and nest predation risk and suggest the importance of nest predation risk in shaping avian community structure and breeding activity. ?? 2006 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

  13. Non-specific manipulation of gammarid behaviour by P. minutus parasite enhances their predation by definitive bird hosts.

    PubMed

    Jacquin, Lisa; Mori, Quentin; Pause, Mickaël; Steffen, Mélanie; Medoc, Vincent

    2014-01-01

    Trophically-transmitted parasites often change the phenotype of their intermediate hosts in ways that increase their vulnerability to definitive hosts, hence favouring transmission. As a "collateral damage", manipulated hosts can also become easy prey for non-host predators that are dead ends for the parasite, and which are supposed to play no role in transmission strategies. Interestingly, infection with the acanthocephalan parasite Polymorphus minutus has been shown to reduce the vulnerability of its gammarid intermediate hosts to non-host predators, whose presence triggered the behavioural alterations expected to favour trophic transmission to bird definitive hosts. Whilst the behavioural response of infected gammarids to the presence of definitive hosts remains to be investigated, this suggests that trophic transmission might be promoted by non-host predation risk. We conducted microcosm experiments to test whether the behaviour of P. minutus-infected gammarids was specific to the type of predator (i.e. mallard as definitive host and fish as non-host), and mesocosm experiments to test whether trophic transmission to bird hosts was influenced by non-host predation risk. Based on the behaviours we investigated (predator avoidance, activity, geotaxis, conspecific attraction), we found no evidence for a specific fine-tuned response in infected gammarids, which behaved similarly whatever the type of predator (mallard or fish). During predation tests, fish predation risk did not influence the differential predation of mallards that over-consumed infected gammarids compared to uninfected individuals. Overall, our results bring support for a less sophisticated scenario of manipulation than previously expected, combining chronic behavioural alterations with phasic behavioural alterations triggered by the chemical and physical cues coming from any type of predator. Given the wide dispersal range of waterbirds (the definitive hosts of P. minutus), such a manipulation

  14. Non-Specific Manipulation of Gammarid Behaviour by P. minutus Parasite Enhances Their Predation by Definitive Bird Hosts

    PubMed Central

    Jacquin, Lisa; Mori, Quentin; Pause, Mickaël; Steffen, Mélanie; Medoc, Vincent

    2014-01-01

    Trophically-transmitted parasites often change the phenotype of their intermediate hosts in ways that increase their vulnerability to definitive hosts, hence favouring transmission. As a “collateral damage”, manipulated hosts can also become easy prey for non-host predators that are dead ends for the parasite, and which are supposed to play no role in transmission strategies. Interestingly, infection with the acanthocephalan parasite Polymorphus minutus has been shown to reduce the vulnerability of its gammarid intermediate hosts to non-host predators, whose presence triggered the behavioural alterations expected to favour trophic transmission to bird definitive hosts. Whilst the behavioural response of infected gammarids to the presence of definitive hosts remains to be investigated, this suggests that trophic transmission might be promoted by non-host predation risk. We conducted microcosm experiments to test whether the behaviour of P. minutus-infected gammarids was specific to the type of predator (i.e. mallard as definitive host and fish as non-host), and mesocosm experiments to test whether trophic transmission to bird hosts was influenced by non-host predation risk. Based on the behaviours we investigated (predator avoidance, activity, geotaxis, conspecific attraction), we found no evidence for a specific fine-tuned response in infected gammarids, which behaved similarly whatever the type of predator (mallard or fish). During predation tests, fish predation risk did not influence the differential predation of mallards that over-consumed infected gammarids compared to uninfected individuals. Overall, our results bring support for a less sophisticated scenario of manipulation than previously expected, combining chronic behavioural alterations with phasic behavioural alterations triggered by the chemical and physical cues coming from any type of predator. Given the wide dispersal range of waterbirds (the definitive hosts of P. minutus), such a manipulation

  15. The increased risk of predation enhances cooperation

    PubMed Central

    Krams, Indrikis; Bērziņš, Arnis; Krama, Tatjana; Wheatcroft, David; Igaune, Kristīne; Rantala, Markus J.

    2010-01-01

    Theory predicts that animals in adverse conditions can decrease individual risks and increase long-term benefits by cooperating with neighbours. However, some empirical studies suggest that animals often focus on short-term benefits, which can reduce the likelihood that they will cooperate with others. In this experimental study, we tested between these two alternatives by evaluating whether increased predation risk (as a correlate of environmental adversity) enhances or diminishes the occurrence of cooperation in mobbing, a common anti-predator behaviour, among breeding pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca. We tested whether birds would join their mobbing neighbours more often and harass a stuffed predator placed near their neighbours' nests more intensely in areas with a higher perceived risk of predation. Our results show that birds attended mobs initiated by their neighbours more often, approached the stuffed predator significantly more closely, and mobbed it at a higher intensity in areas where the perceived risk of predation was experimentally increased. In such high-risk areas, birds also were more often involved in between-pair cooperation. This study demonstrates the positive impact of predation risk on cooperation in breeding songbirds, which might help in explaining the emergence and evolution of cooperation. PMID:19846454

  16. Risks associated with spinal manipulation.

    PubMed

    Stevinson, Clare; Ernst, Edzard

    2002-05-01

    The aim of this systematic review was to summarize the evidence about the risks of spinal manipulation. Articles were located through searching three electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library), contacting experts (n =9), scanning reference lists of relevant articles, and searching departmental files. Reports in any language containing data relating to risks associated with spinal manipulation were included, irrespective of the profession of the therapist. Where available, systematic reviews were used as the basis of this article. All papers were evaluated independently by the authors. Data from prospective studies suggest that minor, transient adverse events occur in approximately half of all patients receiving spinal manipulation. The most common serious adverse events are vertebrobasilar accidents, disk herniation, and cauda equina syndrome. Estimates of the incidence of serious complications range from 1 per 2 million manipulations to 1 per 400,000. Given the popularity of spinal manipulation, its safety requires rigorous investigation. PMID:12015249

  17. Response of predators to habitat manipulation in potato fields

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Determining the impact of habitat complexity and predator species diversity on prey suppression is crucial in developing predictions for the impact of biological control programs. Biological control literature contains controversial evidence for the impact of increased predator species diversity and...

  18. Odour cues influence predation risk at artificial bat roosts in urban bushland.

    PubMed

    Threlfall, Caragh; Law, Bradley; Banks, Peter B

    2013-06-23

    Odours that accumulate from roosting can attract predators and increase predation risk. Consequently, selection should favour strategies that allow prey to evade detection by predators, including changing roosts. Insectivorous bats that roost in tree hollows regularly switch roosts and roost in different sized groups, strategies that would alter the accumulation of roost odours and are hypothesized to reduce predation risk. We experimentally manipulated the amount and refresh rate of roosting odour cues at 90 artificial bat roosts in Sydney, Australia, to test the hypothesis that odours increase predator visitation. Predators visited roosts with bat faeces significantly more often than untreated control roosts. Roosts with small amounts of faeces mimicking sites used by solitary bats had the greatest rate of visitation. This suggests that bats roosting alone, rather than in groups, have a greater likelihood of disturbance or predation. Roost switching probably decreases the predictability of finding occupied roosts; however, we show that all roosts (those currently or recently occupied) were visited by predators, suggesting generalist urban predators readily investigate potential roosts. This is the first demonstration that bat odours are attractive to predators that use olfactory cues, showing that bats are at risk of predation in visually cryptic roosts. PMID:23637390

  19. Habitat structure mediates predation risk for sedentary prey: Experimental tests of alternative hypotheses

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chalfoun, A.D.; Martin, T.E.

    2009-01-01

    Predation is an important and ubiquitous selective force that can shape habitat preferences of prey species, but tests of alternative mechanistic hypotheses of habitat influences on predation risk are lacking. 2. We studied predation risk at nest sites of a passerine bird and tested two hypotheses based on theories of predator foraging behaviour. The total-foliage hypothesis predicts that predation will decline in areas of greater overall vegetation density by impeding cues for detection by predators. The potential-prey-site hypothesis predicts that predation decreases where predators must search more unoccupied potential nest sites. 3. Both observational data and results from a habitat manipulation provided clear support for the potential-prey-site hypothesis and rejection of the total-foliage hypothesis. Birds chose nest patches containing both greater total foliage and potential nest site density (which were correlated in their abundance) than at random sites, yet only potential nest site density significantly influenced nest predation risk. 4. Our results therefore provided a clear and rare example of adaptive nest site selection that would have been missed had structural complexity or total vegetation density been considered alone. 5. Our results also demonstrated that interactions between predator foraging success and habitat structure can be more complex than simple impedance or occlusion by vegetation. ?? 2008 British Ecological Society.

  20. Limited spatial response to direct predation risk by African herbivores following predator reintroduction.

    PubMed

    Davies, Andrew B; Tambling, Craig J; Kerley, Graham I H; Asner, Gregory P

    2016-08-01

    Predators affect ecosystems not only through direct mortality of prey, but also through risk effects on prey behavior, which can exert strong influences on ecosystem function and prey fitness. However, how functionally different prey species respond to predation risk and how prey strategies vary across ecosystems and in response to predator reintroduction are poorly understood. We investigated the spatial distributions of six African herbivores varying in foraging strategy and body size in response to environmental factors and direct predation risk by recently reintroduced lions in the thicket biome of the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, using camera trap surveys, GPS telemetry, kill site locations and Light Detection and Ranging. Spatial distributions of all species, apart from buffalo, were driven primarily by environmental factors, with limited responses to direct predation risk. Responses to predation risk were instead indirect, with species distributions driven by environmental factors, and diel patterns being particularly pronounced. Grazers were more responsive to the measured variables than browsers, with more observations in open areas. Terrain ruggedness was a stronger predictor of browser distributions than was vegetation density. Buffalo was the only species to respond to predator encounter risk, avoiding areas with higher lion utilization. Buffalo therefore behaved in similar ways to when lions were absent from the study area. Our results suggest that direct predation risk effects are relatively weak when predator densities are low and the time since reintroduction is short and emphasize the need for robust, long-term monitoring of predator reintroductions to place such events in the broader context of predation risk effects. PMID:27547350

  1. Can shrub cover increase predation risk for a desert rodent?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schooley, R.L.; Sharpe, Peter B.

    1996-01-01

    Previous research indicates that predation risk may influence activity patterns, habitat partitioning, and community structure of nocturnal desert rodents. Shrub microhabitat is typically considered safer than open microhabitat for these small mammals. We investigated predation risk for Townsend's ground squirrels (Spermophilus townsendii), which are diurnal desert rodents that detect predators visually and use burrows for refuge. Our results suggested that shrub cover may increase risk for these squirrels by decreasing their ability to escape from predators. Our field experiment indicated that running speeds of juvenile squirrels were lower in shrub (Ceratoides lanata) habitat than in open areas. Shrub cover was also associated with shorter predator-detection distances (mammalian and avian) and fewer refuges (burrow entrances per hectare) than in open areas in one year but not in another. Our study demonstrated that the visual and locomotive obstruction of vegetative cover may increase predation risk for diurnal desert rodents and that elements of habitat-dependent risk may be temporally dynamic.

  2. Predation risk is an ecological constraint for helper dispersal in a cooperatively breeding cichlid.

    PubMed Central

    Heg, Dik; Bachar, Zina; Brouwer, Lyanne; Taborsky, Michael

    2004-01-01

    Environmental conditions are thought to be responsible for the extent and benefits of cooperative breeding in many animal societies, but experimental tests are scarce. We manipulated predator pressure in the cooperatively breeding cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher in Lake Tanganyika, where predators have been suggested to influence helper and breeder survival, helper dispersal and group reproductive success. We varied the type and intensity of predation by releasing medium, large, or no predators inside large underwater cages enclosing two or three group territories. Helper and breeder survival, helper dispersal and group reproductive success decreased from the control, to the medium- and large-predator treatments. These effects were modified by helper body size and the number of adults protecting the group from predators, supporting the 'group augmentation hypothesis'. Predators forced helpers to stay closer to, and spend more time inside, protective shelters. The results demonstrate the importance of predators for group living in this species, and support the 'ecological constraints hypothesis' of cooperative breeding, in the sense that subordinates stay at home rather than leave and breed independently under the risk of predation. PMID:15556889

  3. Predation-risk effects of predator identity on the foraging behaviors of frugivorous bats.

    PubMed

    Breviglieri, C P B; Piccoli, G C O; Uieda, W; Romero, G Q

    2013-11-01

    Predators directly and indirectly affect the density and the behavior of prey. These effects may potentially cascade down to lower trophic levels. In this study, we tested the effects of predator calls (playbacks of bird vocalizations: Tyto alba, Speotyto cunicularia, and Vanellus chilensis), predator visual stimuli (stuffed birds) and interactions of visual and auditory cues, on the behavior of frugivore phyllostomid bats in the field. In addition, we tested if the effects of predation risk cascade down to other trophic levels by measuring rates of seed dispersal of the tree Muntingia calabura. Using video recording, we found that bats significantly decreased the foraging frequency on trees when a visual cue of T. alba was present. However, no stimuli of potential predatory birds, including vocalization of T. alba, affected bat foraging frequency. There was a change in bat behavior during 7 min, but then their frequency of activity gradually increased. Consequently, the presence of T. alba decreased by up to ten times the rate of seed removal. These results indicate that risk sensitivity of frugivorous phyllostomid bats depends on predator identity and presence. Among the predators used in this study, only T. alba is an effective bat predator in the Neotropics. Sound stimuli of T. alba seem not to be a cue of predation risk, possibly because their vocalizations are used only for intraspecific communication. This study emphasizes the importance of evaluating different predator stimuli on the behavior of vertebrates, as well as the effects of these stimuli on trait-mediated trophic cascades. PMID:23657559

  4. Predators and the breeding bird: behavioral and reproductive flexibility under the risk of predation.

    PubMed

    Lima, Steven L

    2009-08-01

    A growing body of work suggests that breeding birds have a significant capacity to assess and respond, over ecological time, to changes in the risk of predation to both themselves and their eggs or nestlings. This review investigates the nature of this flexibility in the face of predation from both behavioural and reproductive perspectives, and also explores several directions for future research. Most available work addresses different aspects of nest predation. A substantial change in breeding location is perhaps the best documented response to nest predation, but such changes are not always observed and not necessarily the best strategy. Changes in nesting microhabitat (to more concealed locations) following predation are known to occur. Surprisingly little work addresses the proactive avoidance of areas with many nest predators, but such avoidance is probably widespread. Individual birds could conceivably adopt anti-predator strategies based on the nest predators actually present in an area, but such effects have yet to be demonstrated. In fact, the ways in which birds assess the risk of nest predation is unclear. Nest defence in birds has historically received much attention, but little is known about how it interacts with other aspects of decision-making by parents. Other studies concentrate on predation risk to adults. Some findings suggest that risk to adults themselves influences territory location, especially relative to raptor nests. An almost completely unexplored area concerns the sorts of social protection from predators that might exist during the breeding season. Flocking typical of the non-breeding season appears unusual while breeding, but a mated pair may sometimes act as a "flock of two". Opportunistic heterospecific sociality may exist, with heterospecific protector species associations more prevalent than currently appreciated. The dynamics of singing during the breeding season may also respond to variation in predation risk, but empirical

  5. A multi-stage anti-predator response increases information on predation risk.

    PubMed

    Hemmi, Jan M; Pfeil, Andreas

    2010-05-01

    Optimal escape theory generally assumes that animals have accurate information about predator distance and direction of approach. To what degree such information is available depends not only on the prey's sensory capabilities but also on its behaviour. The structure of behaviour can strongly constrain or support the gathering of information. The ability of animals to collect and process information is therefore an important factor shaping predator avoidance strategies. Fiddler crabs, like many prey animals, escape predators in a multi-step sequence. In their initial response, they do not have accurate information about a predator's distance and approach trajectory and are forced to base their response decision on incomplete information that is not strictly correlated with risk. We show here that fiddler crabs gather qualitatively different visual information during successive stages of their escape sequence. This suggests that multi-stage anti-predator behaviours serve not only to successively reduce risk but also to increase the quality of information with regards to the actual risk. There are countless reasons why prey animals are not able to accurately assess risk. By concentrating on sensory limitations, we can quantify such information deficits and investigate how improving risk assessment helps prey optimise the balance between predation risk and escape costs. PMID:20400633

  6. Predation Risk Shapes Social Networks in Fission-Fusion Populations

    PubMed Central

    Kelley, Jennifer L.; Morrell, Lesley J.; Inskip, Chloe; Krause, Jens; Croft, Darren P.

    2011-01-01

    Predation risk is often associated with group formation in prey, but recent advances in methods for analysing the social structure of animal societies make it possible to quantify the effects of risk on the complex dynamics of spatial and temporal organisation. In this paper we use social network analysis to investigate the impact of variation in predation risk on the social structure of guppy shoals and the frequency and duration of shoal splitting (fission) and merging (fusion) events. Our analyses revealed that variation in the level of predation risk was associated with divergent social dynamics, with fish in high-risk populations displaying a greater number of associations with overall greater strength and connectedness than those from low-risk sites. Temporal patterns of organisation also differed according to predation risk, with fission events more likely to occur over two short time periods (5 minutes and 20 minutes) in low-predation fish and over longer time scales (>1.5 hours) in high-predation fish. Our findings suggest that predation risk influences the fine-scale social structure of prey populations and that the temporal aspects of organisation play a key role in defining social systems. PMID:21912627

  7. Predation Risk Perception, Food Density and Conspecific Cues Shape Foraging Decisions in a Tropical Lizard

    PubMed Central

    Kolbe, Jason J.

    2015-01-01

    When foraging, animals can maximize their fitness if they are able to tailor their foraging decisions to current environmental conditions. When making foraging decisions, individuals need to assess the benefits of foraging while accounting for the potential risks of being captured by a predator. However, whether and how different factors interact to shape these decisions is not yet well understood, especially in individual foragers. Here we present a standardized set of manipulative field experiments in the form of foraging assays in the tropical lizard Anolis cristatellus in Puerto Rico. We presented male lizards with foraging opportunities to test how the presence of conspecifics, predation-risk perception, the abundance of food, and interactions among these factors determines the outcome of foraging decisions. In Experiment 1, anoles foraged faster when food was scarce and other conspecifics were present near the feeding tray, while they took longer to feed when food was abundant and when no conspecifics were present. These results suggest that foraging decisions in anoles are the result of a complex process in which individuals assess predation risk by using information from conspecific individuals while taking into account food abundance. In Experiment 2, a simulated increase in predation risk (i.e., distance to the feeding tray) confirmed the relevance of risk perception by showing that the use of available perches is strongly correlated with the latency to feed. We found Puerto Rican crested anoles integrate instantaneous ecological information about food abundance, conspecific activity and predation risk, and adjust their foraging behavior accordingly. PMID:26384236

  8. Predation Risk Perception, Food Density and Conspecific Cues Shape Foraging Decisions in a Tropical Lizard.

    PubMed

    Drakeley, Maximilian; Lapiedra, Oriol; Kolbe, Jason J

    2015-01-01

    When foraging, animals can maximize their fitness if they are able to tailor their foraging decisions to current environmental conditions. When making foraging decisions, individuals need to assess the benefits of foraging while accounting for the potential risks of being captured by a predator. However, whether and how different factors interact to shape these decisions is not yet well understood, especially in individual foragers. Here we present a standardized set of manipulative field experiments in the form of foraging assays in the tropical lizard Anolis cristatellus in Puerto Rico. We presented male lizards with foraging opportunities to test how the presence of conspecifics, predation-risk perception, the abundance of food, and interactions among these factors determines the outcome of foraging decisions. In Experiment 1, anoles foraged faster when food was scarce and other conspecifics were present near the feeding tray, while they took longer to feed when food was abundant and when no conspecifics were present. These results suggest that foraging decisions in anoles are the result of a complex process in which individuals assess predation risk by using information from conspecific individuals while taking into account food abundance. In Experiment 2, a simulated increase in predation risk (i.e., distance to the feeding tray) confirmed the relevance of risk perception by showing that the use of available perches is strongly correlated with the latency to feed. We found Puerto Rican crested anoles integrate instantaneous ecological information about food abundance, conspecific activity and predation risk, and adjust their foraging behavior accordingly. PMID:26384236

  9. The Importance of Predation Risk and Missed Opportunity Costs for Context-Dependent Foraging Patterns

    PubMed Central

    Eccard, Jana A.; Liesenjohann, Thilo

    2014-01-01

    Correct assessment of risks and costs of foraging is vital for the fitness of foragers. Foragers should avoid predation risk and balance missed opportunities. In risk-heterogeneous landscapes animals prefer safer locations over riskier, constituting a landscape of fear. Risk-uniform landscapes do not offer this choice, all locations are equally risky. Here we investigate the effects of predation risk in patches, travelling risk between patches, and missed social opportunities on foraging decisions in risk-uniform and risk-heterogeous landscapes. We investigated patch leaving decisions of 20 common voles (M. arvalis) in three experimental landscapes: safe risk-uniform, risky risk-uniform and risk-heterogeneous. We varied both the predation risk level and the predation risk distribution between two patches experimentally and in steps, assuming that our manipulation consequently yield different distributions and levels of risk while foraging, risk while travelling, and costs of missed, social opportunities (MSOCs). We measured mean GUDs (giving-up density of food left in the patch) for both patches as a measure of foraging gain, and delta GUD, the differences among patches, as a measure of the spatial distribution of foraging effort over a period of six hours. Distribution of foraging effort was most even in the safe risk-uniform landscapes and least even in the risk-heterogeneous landscape, with risky risk-uniform landscapes in between. Foraging gain was higher in the safe than in the two riskier landscapes (both uniform and heterogeneous). Results supported predictions for the effects of risk in foraging patches and while travelling between patches, however predictions for the effects of missed social opportunities were not met in this short term experiment. Thus, both travelling and foraging risk contribute to distinct patterns observable high risk, risk-uniform landscapes. PMID:24809666

  10. Phenotypically plastic neophobia: a response to variable predation risk

    PubMed Central

    Brown, Grant E.; Ferrari, Maud C. O.; Elvidge, Chris K.; Ramnarine, Indar; Chivers, Douglas P.

    2013-01-01

    Prey species possess a variety of morphological, life history and behavioural adaptations to evade predators. While specific evolutionary conditions have led to the expression of permanent, non-plastic anti-predator traits, the vast majority of prey species rely on experience to express adaptive anti-predator defences. While ecologists have identified highly sophisticated means through which naive prey can deal with predation threats, the potential for death upon the first encounter with a predator is still a remarkably important unresolved issue. Here, we used both laboratory and field studies to provide the first evidence for risk-induced neophobia in two taxa (fish and amphibians), and argue that phenotypically plastic neophobia acts as an adaptive anti-predator strategy for vulnerable prey dealing with spatial and temporal variation in predation risk. Our study also illustrates how risk-free maintenance conditions used in laboratory studies may blind researchers to adaptive anti-predator strategies that are only expressed in high-risk conditions. PMID:23390103

  11. Testing predator-prey theory using broad-scale manipulations and independent validation.

    PubMed

    Serrouya, Robert; McLellan, Bruce N; Boutin, Stan

    2015-11-01

    A robust test of ecological theory is to gauge the predictive accuracy of general relationships parameterized from multiple systems but applied to a new area. To address this goal, we used an ecosystem-level experiment to test predator-prey theory by manipulating prey abundance to determine whether predation was density dependent, density independent, compensatory or depensatory (inversely density dependent) on prey populations. Understanding the nature of predation is of primary importance in community ecology because it establishes whether predation has little effect on prey abundance (compensatory), whether it promotes coexistence (density dependent) and reduces the equilibrium of prey (density independent) or whether it can be destabilizing (depensatory). We used theoretical predictions consisting of functional and numerical equations parameterized independently from meta-analyses on wolves (Canis lupus) and moose (Alces alces), but applied to our specific wolf-moose system. Predictions were tested by experimentally reducing moose abundance across 6500 km(2) as a novel way of evaluating the nature of predation. Depensatory predation of wolves on moose was the best explanation of the population dynamic - a mechanism that has been hypothesized to occur but has rarely been evaluated. Adding locally obtained kill rates and numerical estimates to the independent data provided no benefit to model predictions, suggesting that the theory was robust to local variation. These findings have critical implications for any organism that is preyed upon but that also has, or will be, subject to increased human exploitation or perturbations from environmental change. If depensatory predation is not accounted for in harvest models, predicted yields will be excessive and lead to further population decline. PMID:26101058

  12. Assessment of predation risk through referential communication in incubating birds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suzuki, Toshitaka N.

    2015-05-01

    Parents of many bird species produce alarm calls when they approach and deter a nest predator in order to defend their offspring. Alarm calls have been shown to warn nestlings about predatory threats, but parents also face a similar risk of predation when incubating eggs in their nests. Here, I show that incubating female Japanese great tits, Parus minor, assess predation risk by conspecific alarm calls given outside the nest cavity. Tits produce acoustically discrete alarm calls for different nest predators: “jar” calls for snakes and “chicka” calls for other predators such as crows and martens. Playback experiments revealed that incubating females responded to “jar” calls by leaving their nest, whereas they responded to “chicka” calls by looking out of the nest entrance. Since snakes invade the nest cavity, escaping from the nest helps females avoid snake predation. In contrast, “chicka” calls are used for a variety of predator types, and therefore, looking out of the nest entrance helps females gather information about the type and location of approaching predators. These results show that incubating females derive information about predator type from different types of alarm calls, providing a novel example of functionally referential communication.

  13. Assessment of predation risk through referential communication in incubating birds

    PubMed Central

    Suzuki, Toshitaka N.

    2015-01-01

    Parents of many bird species produce alarm calls when they approach and deter a nest predator in order to defend their offspring. Alarm calls have been shown to warn nestlings about predatory threats, but parents also face a similar risk of predation when incubating eggs in their nests. Here, I show that incubating female Japanese great tits, Parus minor, assess predation risk by conspecific alarm calls given outside the nest cavity. Tits produce acoustically discrete alarm calls for different nest predators: “jar” calls for snakes and “chicka” calls for other predators such as crows and martens. Playback experiments revealed that incubating females responded to “jar” calls by leaving their nest, whereas they responded to “chicka” calls by looking out of the nest entrance. Since snakes invade the nest cavity, escaping from the nest helps females avoid snake predation. In contrast, “chicka” calls are used for a variety of predator types, and therefore, looking out of the nest entrance helps females gather information about the type and location of approaching predators. These results show that incubating females derive information about predator type from different types of alarm calls, providing a novel example of functionally referential communication. PMID:25985093

  14. Background level of risk determines how prey categorize predators and non-predators

    PubMed Central

    Chivers, Douglas P.; McCormick, Mark I.; Mitchell, Matthew D.; Ramasamy, Ryan A.; Ferrari, Maud C. O.

    2014-01-01

    Much of the plasticity that prey exhibit in response to predators is linked to the prey's immediate background level of risk. However, we know almost nothing of how background risk influences how prey learn to categorize predators and non-predators. Learning non-predators probably represents one of the most underappreciated aspects of anti-predator decision-making. Here, we provide larval damselfish (Pomacentrus chrysurus) with a high or low background risk and then try to teach them to recognize a cue as non-threatening through the process of latent inhibition. Prey from the low-risk background that were pre-exposed to the novel odour cues in the absence of negative reinforcement for 3 days, and then provided the opportunity to learn to recognize the odour as threatening, failed to subsequently respond to the odour as a threat. Fish from the high-risk background showed a much different response. These fish did not learn the odour as non-threatening, probably because the cost of falsely learning an odour as non-threatening is higher when the background level of risk is higher. Our work highlights that background level of risk appears to drive plasticity in cognition of prey animals learning to discriminate threats in their environment. PMID:24898371

  15. Resource identity modifies the influence of predation risk on ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Trussell, Geoffrey C; Ewanchuk, Patrick J; Matassa, Catherine M

    2008-10-01

    It is well established that predators can scare as well as consume their prey. In many systems, the fear of being eaten causes trait-mediated cascades whose strength can rival or exceed that of more widely recognized density-mediated cascades transmitted by predators that consume their prey. Despite this progress it is only beginning to be understood how the influence of predation risk is shaped by environmental context and whether it can exert an important influence on ecosystem-level processes. This study used a factorial mesocosm experiment that manipulated basal-resource identity (either barnacles, Semibalanus balanoides, or mussels, Mytilus edulis) to determine how resources modify the influence of predation risk, cascade strength, and the efficiency of energy transfer in two, tritrophic, rocky-shore food chains containing the predatory green crab (Carcinus maenas) and an intermediate consumer (the snail, Nucella lapillus). The effect of predation risk and the strength of trait-mediated cascades (both in absolute and relative terms) were much stronger in the barnacle than in the mussel food chain. Moreover, predation risk strongly diminished the efficiency of energy transfer in the barnacle food chain but had no significant effect in the mussel food chain. The influence of resource identity on indirect-effect strength and energy transfer was likely caused by differences in how each resource shapes the degree of risk perceived by prey. We suggest that our understanding of the connection between trophic dynamics and ecosystem functioning will improve considerably once the effects of predation risk on individual behavior and physiology are considered. PMID:18959317

  16. Malaria and risk of predation: a comparative study of birds.

    PubMed

    Møller, Anders Pape; Nielsen, Jan Tøttrup

    2007-04-01

    Predators have been hypothesized to prey on individuals in a poor state of health, although this hypothesis has only rarely been examined. We used extensive data on prey abundance and availability from two long-term studies of the European Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) and the Eurasian Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) to quantify the relationship between predation risk of different prey species and infection with malaria and other protozoan blood parasites. Using a total of 31 745 prey individuals of 65 species of birds from 1709 nests during 1977-1997 for the Sparrowhawk and a total of 21 818 prey individuals of 76 species of birds from 1480 nests for the Goshawk during 1977-2004, we show that prey species with a high prevalence of blood parasites had higher risks of predation than species with a low prevalence. That was also the case when a number of confounding variables of prey species, such as body mass, breeding sociality, sexual dichromatism, and similarity among species in risk of predation due to common descent, were controlled in comparative analyses of standardized linear contrasts. Prevalence of the genera Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon, Plasmodium, and Trypanosoma were correlated with each other, and we partitioned out the independent effects of different protozoan genera on predation risk in comparative analyses. Prevalence of Haemoproteus, Leucocytozoon, and Plasmodium accounted for interspecific variation in predation risk for the two raptors. These findings suggest that predation is an important factor affecting parasite-host dynamics because predators tend to prey on hosts that are more likely to be infected, thereby reducing the transmission success of parasites. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that protozoan infections are a common cause of death for hosts mediated by increased risk of predation. PMID:17536704

  17. Is female preference for large sexual ornaments due to a bias to escape predation risk?

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background A female preference for intense sexual visual signals is widespread in animals. Although the preferences for a signal per se and for the intensity of the signal were often regarded to have the identical origin, no study has demonstrated if this is true. It was suggested that the female fiddler crabs prefer males with courtship structures because of direct benefit to escape predation. Here we tested if female preference for both components (i.e. presence and size) of the courtship structure in Uca lactea is from the sensory bias to escape predation. If both components have the identical origin, females should show the same response to different-sized courtship structures regardless of predation risk. Results First, we observed responses of mate-searching female U. lactea to courting males with full-sized, half-sized and no semidomes which were experimentally manipulated. Females had a directional preference for males with bigger semidomes within normal variation. Thereafter, we tested the effect of predation risk on the female bias in the non-courtship context. When threatened by an avian mock predator, females preferentially approached burrows with full-sized semidomes regardless of reproductive cycles (i.e. reproductive periods and non-reproductive periods). When the predator cue was absent, however, females preferred burrows with semidomes without discriminating structure size during reproductive periods but did not show any bias during non-reproductive periods. Conclusions Results indicate that selection for the size of courtship structures in U. lactea may have an origin in the function to reduce predation risk, but that the preference for males with structures may have evolved by female choice, independent of predation pressure. PMID:22413838

  18. Minimizing predation risk in a landscape of multiple predators: effects on the spatial distribution of African ungulates.

    PubMed

    Thaker, Maria; Vanak, Abi T; Owen, Cailey R; Ogden, Monika B; Niemann, Sophie M; Slotow, Rob

    2011-02-01

    Studies that focus on single predator-prey interactions can be inadequate for understanding antipredator responses in multi-predator systems. Yet there is still a general lack of information about the strategies of prey to minimize predation risk from multiple predators at the landscape level. Here we examined the distribution of seven African ungulate species in the fenced Karongwe Game Reserve (KGR), South Africa, as a function of predation risk from all large carnivore species (lion, leopard, cheetah, African wild dog, and spotted hyena). Using observed kill data, we generated ungulate-specific predictions of relative predation risk and of riskiness of habitats. To determine how ungulates minimize predation risk at the landscape level, we explicitly tested five hypotheses consisting of strategies that reduce the probability of encountering predators, and the probability of being killed. All ungulate species avoided risky habitats, and most selected safer habitats, thus reducing their probability of being killed. To reduce the probability of encountering predators, most of the smaller prey species (impala, warthog, waterbuck, kudu) avoided the space use of all predators, while the larger species (wildebeest, zebra, giraffe) only avoided areas where lion and leopard space use were high. The strength of avoidance for the space use of predators generally did not correspond to the relative predation threat from those predators. Instead, ungulates used a simpler behavioral rule of avoiding the activity areas of sit-and-pursue predators (lion and leopard), but not those of cursorial predators (cheetah and African wild dog). In general, selection and avoidance of habitats was stronger than avoidance of the predator activity areas. We expect similar decision rules to drive the distribution pattern of ungulates in other African savannas and in other multi-predator systems, especially where predators differ in their hunting modes. PMID:21618919

  19. Too risky to settle: avian community structure changes in response to perceived predation risk on adults and offspring

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hua, Fangyuan; Fletcher, Robert J.; Sieving, Kathryn E.; Dorazio, Robert M.

    2013-01-01

    Predation risk is widely hypothesized as an important force structuring communities, but this potential force is rarely tested experimentally, particularly in terrestrial vertebrate communities. How animals respond to predation risk is generally considered predictable from species life-history and natural-history traits, but rigorous tests of these predictions remain scarce. We report on a large-scale playback experiment with a forest bird community that addresses two questions: (i) does perceived predation risk shape the richness and composition of a breeding bird community? And (ii) can species life-history and natural-history traits predict prey community responses to different types of predation risk? On 9 ha plots, we manipulated cues of three avian predators that preferentially prey on either adult birds or offspring, or both, throughout the breeding season. We found that increased perception of predation risk led to generally negative responses in the abundance, occurrence and/or detection probability of most prey species, which in turn reduced the species richness and shifted the composition of the breeding bird community. Species-level responses were largely predicted from the key natural-history trait of body size, but we did not find support for the life-history theory prediction of the relationship between species' slow/fast life-history strategy and their response to predation risk.

  20. Lévy Walks Suboptimal under Predation Risk.

    PubMed

    Abe, Masato S; Shimada, Masakazu

    2015-11-01

    A key challenge in movement ecology is to understand how animals move in nature. Previous studies have predicted that animals should perform a special class of random walks, called Lévy walk, to obtain more targets. However, some empirical studies did not support this hypothesis, and the relationship between search strategy and ecological factors is still unclear. We focused on ecological factors, such as predation risk, and analyzed whether Lévy walk may not be favored. It was remarkable that the ecological factors often altered an optimal search strategy from Lévy walk to Brownian walk, depending on the speed of the predator's movement, density of predators, etc. This occurred because higher target encounter rates simultaneously led searchers to higher predation risks. Our findings indicate that animals may not perform Lévy walks often, and we suggest that it is crucial to consider the ecological context for evaluating the search strategy performed by animals in the field. PMID:26544687

  1. Predation risk drives social complexity in cooperative breeders.

    PubMed

    Groenewoud, Frank; Frommen, Joachim Gerhard; Josi, Dario; Tanaka, Hirokazu; Jungwirth, Arne; Taborsky, Michael

    2016-04-12

    Predation risk is a major ecological factor selecting for group living. It is largely ignored, however, as an evolutionary driver of social complexity and cooperative breeding, which is attributed mainly to a combination of habitat saturation and enhanced relatedness levels. Social cichlids neither suffer from habitat saturation, nor are their groups composed primarily of relatives. This demands alternative ecological explanations for the evolution of advanced social organization. To address this question, we compared the ecology of eight populations of Neolamprologus pulcher, a cichlid fish arguably representing the pinnacle of social evolution in poikilothermic vertebrates. Results show that variation in social organization and behavior of these fish is primarily explained by predation risk and related ecological factors. Remarkably, ecology affects group structure more strongly than group size, with predation inversely affecting small and large group members. High predation and shelter limitation leads to groups containing few small but many large members, which is an effect enhanced at low population densities. Apparently, enhanced safety from predators by cooperative defense and shelter construction are the primary benefits of sociality. This finding suggests that predation risk can be fundamental for the transition toward complex social organization, which is generally undervalued. PMID:27035973

  2. Behavioral plasticity mitigates risk across environments and predators during anuran metamorphosis.

    PubMed

    Touchon, Justin C; Jiménez, Randall R; Abinette, Shane H; Vonesh, James R; Warkentin, Karen M

    2013-11-01

    Most animals metamorphose, changing morphology, physiology, behavior and ecological interactions. Size- and habitat-dependent mortality risk is thought to affect the evolution and plastic expression of metamorphic timing, and high predation during the morphological transition is posited as a critical selective force shaping complex life cycles. Nonetheless, empirical data on how risk changes across metamorphosis and stage-specific habitats, or how that varies with size, are rare. We examined predator-prey interactions of red-eyed treefrogs, Agalychnis callidryas, with an aquatic predator (giant water bug, Belostoma) and a semi-terrestrial predator (fishing spider, Thaumasia) across metamorphosis. We manipulated tadpole density to generate variation in metamorph size and conducted predation trials at multiple developmental stages. We quantified how frog behavior (activity) changes across metamorphic development, habitats, and predator presence or absence. In aquatic trials with water bugs, frog mortality increased with forelimb emergence, as hypothesized. In semi-terrestrial trials, contrary to predictions, predation by spiders increased, not decreased, with tail resorption. In neither case did frog size affect mortality. Frogs reduced activity upon forelimb emergence in the water, and further with emergence into air, then increased activity with tail resorption. Longer-tailed metamorphs were captured more often in spider attacks, but attacked less, as most attacks followed prey movements. Metamorphs behaviorally compensated for poor escape performance more effectively on land than in water, thus emergence timing may critically affect mortality. The developmental timing of the ecological transition between environments that select for different larval and juvenile phenotypes is an important, neglected variable in studies of complex life cycles. PMID:23824140

  3. Olfactory assessment of predation risk in the aquatic environment.

    PubMed

    Wisenden, B D

    2000-09-29

    The aquatic environment is well suited for the transmission of chemical information. Aquatic animals have evolved highly sensitive receptors for detecting these cues. Here, I review behavioural evidence for the use of chemical cues by aquatic animals for the assessment of predation risk. Chemical cues are released during detection, attack, capture and ingestion of prey. The nature of the cue released depends on the stage of the predation sequence in which cues are released. Predator odours, disturbance pheromones, injury-released chemical cues and dietary cues all convey chemical information to prey Prey use these cues to minimize their probability of being taken on to the next stage of the sequence. The evolution of specialized epidermal alarm substance cells in fishes in the superorder Ostariophysi represent an amplification of this general phenomenon. These cells carry a significant metabolic cost. The cost is offset by the fitness benefit of the chemical attraction of predators. Attempts of piracy by secondary predators interrupt predation events allowing prey an opportunity for escape. In conclusion, chemical cues are widely used by aquatic prey for risk assessment and this has resulted in the evolution of specialized structures among some taxa. PMID:11079399

  4. Mapping risk for nest predation on a barrier island

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hackney, Amanda D.; Baldwin, Robert F.; Jodice, Patrick G.

    2013-01-01

    Barrier islands and coastal beach systems provide nesting habitat for marine and estuarine turtles. Densely settled coastal areas may subsidize nest predators. Our purpose was to inform conservation by providing a greater understanding of habitat-based risk factors for nest predation, for an estuarine turtle. We expected that habitat conditions at predated nests would differ from random locations at two spatial extents. We developed and validated an island-wide model for the distribution of predated Diamondback terrapin nests using locations of 198 predated nests collected during exhaustive searches at Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge, USA. We used aerial photographs to identify all areas of possible nesting habitat and searched each and surrounding environments for nests, collecting location and random-point microhabitat data. We built models for the probability of finding a predated nest using an equal number of random points and validated them with a reserve set (N = 67). Five variables in 9 a priori models were used and the best selected model (AIC weight 0.98) reflected positive associations with sand patches near marshes and roadways. Model validation had an average capture rate of predated nests of 84.14 % (26.17–97.38 %, Q1 77.53 %, median 88.07 %, Q3 95.08 %). Microhabitat selection results suggest that nests placed at the edges of sand patches adjacent to upland shrub/forest and marsh systems are vulnerable to predation. Forests and marshes provide cover and alternative resources for predators and roadways provide access; a suggestion is to focus nest protection efforts on the edges of dunes, near dense vegetation and roads.

  5. Parental investment decisions in response to ambient nest-predation risk versus actual predation on the prior nest

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chalfoun, A.D.; Martin, T.E.

    2010-01-01

    Theory predicts that parents should invest less in dependent offspring with lower reproductive value, such as those with a high risk of predation. Moreover, high predation risk can favor reduced parental activity when such activity attracts nest predators. Yet, the ability of parents to assess ambient nest-predation risk and respond adaptively remains unclear, especially where nest-predator assemblages are diverse and potentially difficult to assess. We tested whether variation in parental investment by a multi-brooded songbird (Brewer's Sparrow, Spizella breweri) in an environment (sagebrush steppe) with diverse predators was predicted by ambient nest-predation risk or direct experience with nest predation. Variation among eight sites in ambient nest-predation risk, assayed by daily probabilities of nest predation, was largely uncorrelated across four years. In this system risk may therefore be unpredictable, and aspects of parental investment (clutch size, egg mass, incubation rhythms, nestling-feeding rates) were not related to ambient risk. Moreover, investment at first nests that were successful did not differ from that at nests that were depredated, suggesting parents could not assess and respond to territorylevel nest-predation risk. However, parents whose nests were depredated reduced clutch sizes and activity at nests attempted later in the season by increasing the length of incubation shifts (on-bouts) and recesses (off-bouts) and decreasing trips to feed nestlings. In this unpredictable environment parent birds may therefore lack sufficient cues of ambient risk on which to base their investment decisions and instead rely on direct experience with nest predation to inform at least some of their decisions. ?? 2010 The Cooper Ornithological Society.

  6. Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Bumblebees Foraging under Predation Risk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lenz, Friedrich; Ings, Thomas C.; Chittka, Lars; Chechkin, Aleksei V.; Klages, Rainer

    2012-03-01

    We analyze 3D flight paths of bumblebees searching for nectar in a laboratory experiment with and without predation risk from artificial spiders. For the flight velocities we find mixed probability distributions reflecting the access to the food sources while the threat posed by the spiders shows up only in the velocity correlations. The bumblebees thus adjust their flight patterns spatially to the environment and temporally to predation risk. Key information on response to environmental changes is contained in temporal correlation functions, as we explain by a simple emergent model.

  7. Phenotypic convergence along a gradient of predation risk.

    PubMed

    Dennis, S R; Carter, Mauricio J; Hentley, W T; Beckerman, A P

    2011-06-01

    A long-standing question in ecology is whether phenotypic plasticity, rather than selection per se, is responsible for phenotypic variation among populations. Plasticity can increase or decrease variation, but most previous studies have been limited to single populations, single traits and a small number of environments assessed using univariate reaction norms. Here, examining two genetically distinct populations of Daphnia pulex with different predation histories, we quantified predator-induced plasticity among 11 traits along a fine-scale gradient of predation risk by a predator (Chaoborus) common to both populations. We test the hypothesis that plasticity can be responsible for convergence in phenotypes among different populations by experimentally characterizing multivariate reaction norms with phenotypic trajectory analysis (PTA). Univariate analyses showed that all genotypes increased age and size at maturity, and invested in defensive spikes (neckteeth), but failed to quantitatively describe whole-organism response. In contrast, PTA quantified and qualified the phenotypic strategy the organism mobilized against the selection pressure. We demonstrate, at the whole-organism level, that the two populations occupy different areas of phenotypic space in the absence of predation but converge in phenotypic space as predation threat increases. PMID:21084350

  8. Compensatory growth following transient intraguild predation risk in predatory mites

    PubMed Central

    Walzer, Andreas; Lepp, Natalia; Schausberger, Peter

    2015-01-01

    Compensatory or catch-up growth following growth impairment caused by transient environmental stress, due to adverse abiotic factors or food, is widespread in animals. Such growth strategies commonly balance retarded development and reduced growth. They depend on the type of stressor but are unknown for predation risk, a prime selective force shaping life history. Anti-predator behaviours by immature prey typically come at the cost of reduced growth rates with potential negative consequences on age and size at maturity. Here, we investigated the hypothesis that transient intraguild predation (IGP) risk induces compensatory or catch-up growth in the plant-inhabiting predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis. Immature P. persimilis were exposed in the larval stage to no, low or high IGP risk, and kept under benign conditions in the next developmental stage, the protonymph. High but not low IGP risk prolonged development of P. persimilis larvae, which was compensated in the protonymphal stage by increased foraging activity and accelerated development, resulting in optimal age and size at maturity. Our study provides the first experimental evidence that prey may balance developmental costs accruing from anti-predator behaviour by compensatory growth. PMID:26005221

  9. Parasite and predator risk assessment: nuanced use of olfactory cues.

    PubMed

    Sharp, John G; Garnick, Sarah; Elgar, Mark A; Coulson, Graeme

    2015-10-22

    Foraging herbivores face twin threats of predation and parasite infection, but the risk of predation has received much more attention. We evaluated, experimentally, the role of olfactory cues in predator and parasite risk assessment on the foraging behaviour of a population of marked, free-ranging, red-necked wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus). The wallabies adjusted their behaviour according to these olfactory cues. They foraged less, were more vigilant and spent less time at feeders placed in the vicinity of faeces from dogs that had consumed wallaby or kangaroo meat compared with that of dogs feeding on sheep, rabbit or possum meat. Wallabies also showed a species-specific faecal aversion by consuming less food from feeders contaminated with wallaby faeces compared with sympatric kangaroo faeces, whose gastrointestinal parasite fauna differs from that of the wallabies. Combining both parasite and predation cues in a single field experiment revealed that these risks had an additive effect, rather than the wallabies compromising their response to one risk at the expense of the other. PMID:26468246

  10. Learning rate and temperament in a high predation risk environment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DePasquale, C.; Wagner, Tyler; Archard, G.A.; Ferguson, B.; Braithwaite, V.A.

    2014-01-01

    Living in challenging environments can influence the behavior of animals in a number of ways. For instance, populations of prey fish that experience frequent, nonlethal interactions with predators have a high proportion of individuals that express greater reaction to risk and increased activity and exploration—collectively known as temperament traits. Temperament traits are often correlated, such that individuals that are risk-prone also tend to be active and explore more. Spatial learning, which requires the integration of many sensory cues, has also been shown to vary in fish exposed to different levels of predation threat. Fish from areas of low predation risk learn to solve spatial tasks faster than fish from high predation areas. However, it is not yet known whether simpler forms of learning, such as learning associations between two events, are similarly influenced. Simple forms of associative learning are likely to be affected by temperament because a willingness to approach and explore novel situations could provide animals with a learning advantage. However, it is possible that routine-forming and inflexible traits associated with risk-prone and increased exploratory behavior may act in the opposite way and make risk-prone individuals poorer at learning associations. To investigate this, we measured temperament in Panamanian bishop fish (Brachyrhaphis episcopi) sampled from a site known to contain many predators. The B. episcopi were then tested with an associative learning task. Within this population, fish that explored more were faster at learning a cue that predicted access to food, indicating a link between temperament and basic learning abilities.

  11. Predator swamping reduces predation risk during nocturnal migration of juvenile salmon in a high-mortality landscape.

    PubMed

    Furey, Nathan B; Hinch, Scott G; Bass, Arthur L; Middleton, Collin T; Minke-Martin, Vanessa; Lotto, Andrew G

    2016-07-01

    Animal migrations are costly and are often characterized by high predation risk for individuals. Three of the most oft-assumed mechanisms for reducing risk for migrants are swamping predators with high densities, specific timing of migrations and increased body size. Assessing the relative importance of these mechanisms in reducing predation risk particularly for migrants is generally lacking due to the difficulties in tracking the fate of individuals and population-level characteristics simultaneously. We used acoustic telemetry to track migration behaviour and survival of juvenile sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) smolts released over a wide range of conspecific outmigration densities in a river associated with poor survival. The landscape was indeed high risk; smolt survival was poor (˜68%) over 13·5 km of river examined even though migration was rapid (generally <48 h). Our results demonstrate that smolts largely employ swamping of predators to reduce predation risk. Increased densities of co-migrant conspecifics dramatically improved survival of smolts. The strong propensity for nocturnal migration resulted in smolts pausing downstream movements until the next nightfall, greatly increasing relative migration durations for smolts that could not traverse the study area in a single night. Smolt size did not appear to impact predation risk, potentially due to unique characteristics of the system or our inability to tag the entire size range of outmigrants. Movement behaviours were important in traversing this high-risk landscape and provide rare evidence for swamping to effectively reduce individual predation risk. PMID:27159553

  12. Assessing predation risk to threatened fauna from their prevalence in predator scats: dingoes and rodents in arid Australia.

    PubMed

    Allen, Benjamin L; Leung, Luke K-P

    2012-01-01

    The prevalence of threatened species in predator scats has often been used to gauge the risks that predators pose to threatened species, with the infrequent occurrence of a given species often considered indicative of negligible predation risks. In this study, data from 4087 dingo (Canis lupus dingo and hybrids) scats were assessed alongside additional information on predator and prey distribution, dingo control effort and predation rates to evaluate whether or not the observed frequency of threatened species in dingo scats warrants more detailed investigation of dingo predation risks to them. Three small rodents (dusky hopping-mice Notomys fuscus; fawn hopping-mice Notomys cervinus; plains mice Pseudomys australis) were the only threatened species detected in <8% of dingo scats from any given site, suggesting that dingoes might not threaten them. However, consideration of dingo control effort revealed that plains mice distribution has largely retracted to the area where dingoes have been most heavily subjected to lethal control. Assessing the hypothetical predation rates of dingoes on dusky hopping-mice revealed that dingo predation alone has the potential to depopulate local hopping-mice populations within a few months. It was concluded that the occurrence of a given prey species in predator scats may be indicative of what the predator ate under the prevailing conditions, but in isolation, such data can have a poor ability to inform predation risk assessments. Some populations of threatened fauna assumed to derive a benefit from the presence of dingoes may instead be susceptible to dingo-induced declines under certain conditions. PMID:22563498

  13. Assessing Predation Risk to Threatened Fauna from their Prevalence in Predator Scats: Dingoes and Rodents in Arid Australia

    PubMed Central

    Allen, Benjamin L.; Leung, Luke K.-P.

    2012-01-01

    The prevalence of threatened species in predator scats has often been used to gauge the risks that predators pose to threatened species, with the infrequent occurrence of a given species often considered indicative of negligible predation risks. In this study, data from 4087 dingo (Canis lupus dingo and hybrids) scats were assessed alongside additional information on predator and prey distribution, dingo control effort and predation rates to evaluate whether or not the observed frequency of threatened species in dingo scats warrants more detailed investigation of dingo predation risks to them. Three small rodents (dusky hopping-mice Notomys fuscus; fawn hopping-mice Notomys cervinus; plains mice Pseudomys australis) were the only threatened species detected in <8% of dingo scats from any given site, suggesting that dingoes might not threaten them. However, consideration of dingo control effort revealed that plains mice distribution has largely retracted to the area where dingoes have been most heavily subjected to lethal control. Assessing the hypothetical predation rates of dingoes on dusky hopping-mice revealed that dingo predation alone has the potential to depopulate local hopping-mice populations within a few months. It was concluded that the occurrence of a given prey species in predator scats may be indicative of what the predator ate under the prevailing conditions, but in isolation, such data can have a poor ability to inform predation risk assessments. Some populations of threatened fauna assumed to derive a benefit from the presence of dingoes may instead be susceptible to dingo-induced declines under certain conditions. PMID:22563498

  14. Does Predation Risk Affect Mating Behavior? An Experimental Test in Dumpling Squid (Euprymna tasmanica)

    PubMed Central

    Franklin, Amanda M.; Squires, Zoe E.; Stuart-Fox, Devi

    2014-01-01

    Introduction One of the most important trade-offs for many animals is that between survival and reproduction. This is particularly apparent when mating increases the risk of predation, either by increasing conspicuousness, reducing mobility or inhibiting an individual's ability to detect predators. Individuals may mitigate the risk of predation by altering their reproductive behavior (e.g. increasing anti-predator responses to reduce conspicuousness). The degree to which individuals modulate their reproductive behavior in relation to predation risk is difficult to predict because both the optimal investment in current and future reproduction (due to life-history strategies) and level of predation risk may differ between the sexes and among species. Here, we investigate the effect of increased predation risk on the reproductive behavior of dumpling squid (Euprymna tasmanica). Results Females, but not males, showed a substantial increase in the number of inks (an anti-predator behavior) before mating commenced in the presence of a predator (sand flathead Platycephalus bassensis). However, predation risk did not affect copulation duration, the likelihood of mating, female anti-predator behavior during or after mating or male anti-predator behavior at any time. Conclusions Inking is a common anti-predator defense in cephalopods, thought to act like a smokescreen, decoy or distraction. Female dumpling squid are probably using this form of defense in response to the increase in predation risk prior to mating. Conversely, males were undeterred by the increase in predation risk. A lack of change in these variables may occur if the benefit of completing mating outweighs the risk of predation. Prioritizing current reproduction, even under predation risk, can occur when the chance of future reproduction is low, there is substantial energetic investment into mating, or the potential fitness payoffs of mating are high. PMID:25551378

  15. Breeding Phenology of Birds: Mechanisms Underlying Seasonal Declines in the Risk of Nest Predation

    PubMed Central

    Borgmann, Kathi L.; Conway, Courtney J.; Morrison, Michael L.

    2013-01-01

    Seasonal declines in avian clutch size are well documented, but seasonal variation in other reproductive parameters has received less attention. For example, the probability of complete brood mortality typically explains much of the variation in reproductive success and often varies seasonally, but we know little about the underlying cause of that variation. This oversight is surprising given that nest predation influences many other life-history traits and varies throughout the breeding season in many songbirds. To determine the underlying causes of observed seasonal decreases in risk of nest predation, we modeled nest predation of Dusky Flycatchers (Empidonax oberholseri) in northern California as a function of foliage phenology, energetic demand, developmental stage, conspecific nest density, food availability for nest predators, and nest predator abundance. Seasonal variation in the risk of nest predation was not associated with seasonal changes in energetic demand, conspecific nest density, or predator abundance. Instead, seasonal variation in the risk of nest predation was associated with foliage density (early, but not late, in the breeding season) and seasonal changes in food available to nest predators. Supplemental food provided to nest predators resulted in a numerical response by nest predators, increasing the risk of nest predation at nests that were near supplemental feeders. Our results suggest that seasonal changes in foliage density and factors associated with changes in food availability for nest predators are important drivers of temporal patterns in risk of avian nest predation. PMID:23776566

  16. Predation risk-mediated maternal effects in the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae.

    PubMed

    Freinschlag, Julia; Schausberger, Peter

    2016-05-01

    Predation risk is a strong selective force shaping prey morphology, physiology, life history and/or behavior. As a prime stressor, predation risk may even induce trans-generational alterations, called maternal effects. Accordingly, maternal predation risk during offspring production may influence offspring life history and anti-predator behavior. Here, we assessed whether different levels of predation risk, posed by the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis, induce graded maternal effects in its prey, the herbivorous two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae. First, we generated four types of predation risk-stressed spider mite mothers by exposing them to living predators, direct and indirect predator cue combinations or no predator cues, respectively. Then, we investigated the life history (offspring developmental time, sex) and anti-predator response (activity, position on the leaf) of their offspring on leaves with and without direct and indirect predator cues. Maternal stress, no matter of the predation risk level, prolonged the offspring developmental time, as compared to offspring from unstressed mothers. This pattern was more pronounced on leaves with than without predator cues. Offspring from stressed mothers resided more likely on the leaf blade than close to the leaf vein. Offspring sex ratio and activity were not influenced by maternal predation risk but activity was higher on leaves with than without predator cues. We argue that the prolonged developmental time is non-adaptive, yet the changed site preference is adaptive because reducing the encounter likelihood with predators. Our study represents a key example for predation risk-mediated maternal effects on developmental trajectories of offspring. PMID:26923463

  17. Predation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Spain, James D.; Soldan, Theodore

    1983-01-01

    Describes two computer simulations of the predator-prey interaction in which students explore theories and mathematical equations involved in this biological process. The programs (for Apple II), designed for college level ecology, may be used in lecture/demonstrations or as a basis for laboratory assignments. A list of student objectives is…

  18. Effects of predation risk across a latitudinal temperature gradient.

    PubMed

    Matassa, Catherine M; Trussell, Geoffrey C

    2015-03-01

    The nonconsumptive effects (NCEs) of predators on prey behavior and physiology can influence the structure and function of ecological communities. However, the strength of NCEs should depend on the physiological and environmental contexts in which prey must choose between food and safety. For ectotherms, temperature effects on metabolism and foraging rates may shape these choices, thereby altering NCE strength. We examined NCEs in a rocky intertidal food chain across a latitudinal sea surface temperature gradient within the Gulf of Maine. The NCEs of green crabs (Carcinus maenas) on the foraging, growth, and growth efficiency of prey snails (Nucella lapillus) were consistent across a broad (~8.5 °C) temperature range, even though snails that were transplanted south consumed twice as many mussels (Mytilus edulis) and grew twice as much as snails that were transplanted north. The positive effects of warmer temperatures in the south allowed snails under high risk to perform similarly to or better than snails under low risk at cooler temperatures. Our results suggest that for prey populations residing at temperatures below their thermal optimum, the positive effects of future warming may offset the negative effects of predation risk. Such effects may be favorable to prey populations facing increased predation rates due to warmer temperatures associated with climate change. Attention to the direct and indirect effects of temperature on species interactions should improve our ability to predict the effects of climate change on ecological communities. PMID:25433694

  19. Human activities change marine ecosystems by altering predation risk.

    PubMed

    Madin, Elizabeth M P; Dill, Lawrence M; Ridlon, April D; Heithaus, Michael R; Warner, Robert R

    2016-01-01

    In ocean ecosystems, many of the changes in predation risk - both increases and decreases - are human-induced. These changes are occurring at scales ranging from global to local and across variable temporal scales. Indirect, risk-based effects of human activity are known to be important in structuring some terrestrial ecosystems, but these impacts have largely been neglected in oceans. Here, we synthesize existing literature and data to explore multiple lines of evidence that collectively suggest diverse human activities are changing marine ecosystems, including carbon storage capacity, in myriad ways by altering predation risk. We provide novel, compelling evidence that at least one key human activity, overfishing, can lead to distinct, cascading risk effects in natural ecosystems whose magnitude exceeds that of presumed lethal effects and may account for previously unexplained findings. We further discuss the conservation implications of human-caused indirect risk effects. Finally, we provide a predictive framework for when human alterations of risk in oceans should lead to cascading effects and outline a prospectus for future research. Given the speed and extent with which human activities are altering marine risk landscapes, it is crucial that conservation and management policy considers the indirect effects of these activities in order to increase the likelihood of success and avoid unfortunate surprises. PMID:26448058

  20. Lévy Walks Suboptimal under Predation Risk

    PubMed Central

    Abe, Masato S.; Shimada, Masakazu

    2015-01-01

    A key challenge in movement ecology is to understand how animals move in nature. Previous studies have predicted that animals should perform a special class of random walks, called Lévy walk, to obtain more targets. However, some empirical studies did not support this hypothesis, and the relationship between search strategy and ecological factors is still unclear. We focused on ecological factors, such as predation risk, and analyzed whether Lévy walk may not be favored. It was remarkable that the ecological factors often altered an optimal search strategy from Lévy walk to Brownian walk, depending on the speed of the predator’s movement, density of predators, etc. This occurred because higher target encounter rates simultaneously led searchers to higher predation risks. Our findings indicate that animals may not perform Lévy walks often, and we suggest that it is crucial to consider the ecological context for evaluating the search strategy performed by animals in the field. PMID:26544687

  1. Effects of predation risk on habitat selection by water column fish, benthic fish and crayfish in stream pools

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Magoulick, D.D.

    2004-01-01

    Predation risk can affect habitat selection by water column stream fish and crayfish, but little is known regarding effects of predation risk on habitat selection by benthic fish or assemblages of fish and crayfish. I used comparative studies and manipulative field experiments to determine whether, (1) habitat selection by stream fish and crayfish is affected by predation risk, and (2) benthic fish, water column fish, and crayfish differ in their habitat selection and response to predation risk. Snorkeling was used to observe fish and crayfish in, (1) unmanipulated stream pools with and without large smallmouth bass predators (Micropterus dolomieui >200 mm total length, TL) and (2) manipulated stream pools before and after addition of a single large smallmouth bass, to determine if prey size and presence of large fish predators affected habitat selection. Observations of microhabitat use were compared with microhabitat availability to determine microhabitat selection. Small fish (60-100 mm TL, except darters that were 30-100 mm TL) and crayfish (40-100 mm rostrum to telson length; TL) had significantly reduced densities in pools with large bass, whereas densities of large fish and crayfish (> 100 mm TL) did not differ significantly between pools with and without large bass. Small orangethroat darters (Etheostoma spectabile), northern crayfish (Orconectes virilis), and creek chubs (Semotilus atromaculatus) showed significantly greater densities in pools without large bass. The presence of large smallmouth bass did not significantly affect depths selected by fish and crayfish, except minnows, which were found significantly more often at medium depths when bass were present. Small minnows and large and small crayfish showed the greatest response to additions of bass to stream pools by moving away from bass locations and into shallow water. Small darters and sunfish showed an intermediate response, whereas large minnows showed no significant response to bass additions

  2. Parent birds assess nest predation risk and adjust their reproductive strategies

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fontaine, J.J.; Martin, T.E.

    2006-01-01

    Avian life history theory has long assumed that nest predation plays a minor role in shaping reproductive strategies. Yet, this assumption remains conspicuously untested by broad experiments that alter environmental risk of nest predation, despite the fact that nest predation is a major source of reproductive failure. Here, we examined whether parents can assess experimentally reduced nest predation risk and alter their reproductive strategies. We experimentally reduced nest predation risk and show that in safer environments parents increased investment in young through increased egg size, clutch mass, and the rate they fed nestlings. Parents also increased investment in female condition by increasing the rates that males fed incubating females at the nest, and decreasing the time that females spent incubating. These results demonstrate that birds can assess nest predation risk at large and that nest predation plays a key role in the expression of avian reproductive strategies. ?? 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  3. Reefscapes of fear: predation risk and reef hetero-geneity interact to shape herbivore foraging behaviour.

    PubMed

    Catano, Laura B; Rojas, Maria C; Malossi, Ryan J; Peters, Joseph R; Heithaus, Michael R; Fourqurean, James W; Burkepile, Deron E

    2016-01-01

    Predators can exert strong direct and indirect effects on ecological communities by intimidating their prey. The nature of predation risk effects is often context dependent, but in some ecosystems these contingencies are often overlooked. Risk effects are often not uniform across landscapes or among species. Indeed, they can vary widely across gradients of habitat complexity and with different prey escape tactics. These context dependencies may be especially important for ecosystems such as coral reefs that vary widely in habitat complexity and have species-rich predator and prey communities. With field experiments using predator decoys of the black grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci), we investigated how reef complexity interacts with predation risk to affect the foraging behaviour and herbivory rates of large herbivorous fishes (e.g. parrotfishes and surgeonfishes) across four coral reefs in the Florida Keys (USA). In both high and low complexity areas of the reef, we measured how herbivory changed with increasing distance from the predator decoy to examine how herbivorous fishes reconcile the conflicting demands of avoiding predation vs. foraging within a reefscape context. We show that with increasing risk, herbivorous fishes consumed dramatically less food (ca. 90%) but fed at a faster rate when they did feed (ca. 26%). Furthermore, we show that fishes foraging closest to the predator decoy were 40% smaller than those that foraged at further distances. Thus, smaller individuals showed muted response to predation risk compared to their larger counterparts, potentially due to their decreased risk to predation or lower reproductive value (i.e. the asset protection principle). Habitat heterogeneity mediated risk effects differently for different species of herbivores, with predation risk more strongly suppressing herbivore feeding in more complex areas and for individuals at higher risk of predation. Predators appear to create a reefscape of fear that changes the size

  4. Effects of behavioral and morphological plasticity on risk of predation in a Neotropical tadpole

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McIntyre, P.B.; Baldwin, S.; Flecker, A.S.

    2004-01-01

    Predator-induced phenotypic plasticity is widespread among aquatic animals, however the relative contributions of behavioral and morphological shifts to reducing risk of predation remain uncertain. We tested the phenotypic plasticity of a Neotropical tadpole (Rana palmipes) in response to chemical cues from predatory Belostoma water bugs, and how phenotype affects risk of predation. Behavior, morphology, and pigmentation all were plastic, resulting in a predator-induced phenotype with lower activity, deeper tail fin and muscle, and darker pigmentation. Tadpoles in the predator cue treatment also grew more rapidly, possibly as a result of the nutrient subsidy from feeding the caged predator. For comparison to phenotypes induced in the experiment, we quantified the phenotype of tadpoles from a natural pool. Wildcaught tadpoles did not match either experimentally induced phenotype; their morphology was more similar to that produced in the control treatment, but their low swimming activity was similar to that induced by predator cues. Exposure of tadpoles from both experimental treatments and the natural pool to a free-ranging predator confirmed that predator-induced phenotypic plasticity reduces risk of predation. Risk of predation was comparable among wild-caught and predator-induced tadpoles, indicating that behavioral shifts can substantially alleviate risk in tadpoles that lack the typical suite of predator-induced morphological traits. The morphology observed in wild-caught tadpoles is associated with rapid growth and high competition in other tadpole species, suggesting that tadpoles may profitably combine a morphology suited to competition for food with behaviors that minimize risk of predation. ?? Springer-Verlag 2004.

  5. Temporal constraints on predation risk assessment in a changing world.

    PubMed

    Chivers, Douglas P; Ramasamy, Ryan A; McCormick, Mark I; Watson, Sue-Ann; Siebeck, Ulrike E; Ferrari, Maud C O

    2014-12-01

    Habitat degradation takes various forms and likely represents the most significant threat to our global biodiversity. Recently, we have seen considerable attention paid to increasing global CO2 emissions which lead to ocean acidification (OA). Other stressors, such as changing levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR), also impact biodiversity but have received much less attention in the recent past. Here we examine fundamental questions about temporal aspects of risk assessment by coral reef damselfish and provide critical insights into how OA and UVR influence this assessment. Chemical cues released during a predator attack provide a rich source of information that other prey animals use to mediate their risk of predation and are the basis of the majority of trait-mediated indirect interactions in aquatic communities. However, we have surprisingly limited information about temporal aspects of risk assessment because we lack knowledge about how long chemical cues persist after they are released into the environment. Here, we showed that under ambient CO2 conditions (~385 μatm), alarm cues of ambon damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis) did not degrade within 30 min in the absence of ultraviolet radiation (UVR), but were degraded within 15 min when the CO2 was increased to ~905 μatm. In experiments that used filters to eliminate UVR, we found minimal degradation of alarm cues within 30 min, whereas under ambient UVR conditions, alarm cues were completely degraded within 15 min. Moreover, in the presence of both UVR and elevated CO2, alarm cues were broken down within 5 min. Our results highlight that alarm cues degrade surprisingly quickly under natural conditions and that anthropogenic changes have the potential to dramatically change rates of cue degradation in the wild. This has considerable implications for risk assessment and consequently the importance of trait-mediated indirect interactions in coral-reef communities. PMID:25237790

  6. Climate warming and predation risk during herbivore ontogeny.

    PubMed

    Barton, Brandon T

    2010-10-01

    Phenological effects of climate change are expected to differ among species, altering interactions within ecological communities. However, the nature and strength of these effects can vary during ontogeny, so the net community-level effects will be the result of integration over an individual's lifetime. I resolved the mechanism driving the effects of warming and spider predation risk on a generalist grasshopper herbivore at each ontogenetic stage and quantified the treatment effects on a measure of reproductive fitness. Spiders caused nymphal grasshoppers to increase the proportion of herbs in their diet, thus having a positive indirect effect on grasses and a negative indirect effect on herbs. Warming strengthened the top-down effect by affecting spiders and grasshoppers differently. In cooler, ambient conditions, grasshoppers and spiders had a high degree of spatial overlap within the plant canopy. Grasshopper position was unaffected by temperature, but spiders moved lower in the canopy in response to warming. This decreased the spatial overlap between predator and prey, allowing nymphal grasshoppers to increase daily feeding time. While spiders decreased grasshopper growth and reproductive fitness in ambient conditions, spiders had no effect on grasshopper fitness in warmed treatments. The study demonstrates the importance of considering the ontogeny of behavior when examining the effects of climate change on trophic interactions. PMID:21058542

  7. Predation risk increases immune response in a larval dragonfly (Leucorrhinia intacta).

    PubMed

    Duong, Tammy M; McCauley, Shannon J

    2016-06-01

    Predators often negatively affect prey performance through indirect, non-consumptive effects. We investigated the potential relationship between predator-induced stress and prey immune response. To test this, we administered a synthetic immune challenge into dragonfly larvae (Leucorrhinia intacta) and assessed a key immune response (level of encapsulation) in the presence and absence of a caged predator (Anax junius) at two temperatures (22 degrees C and 26 degrees C). We hypothesized that immune response would be lowered when predators were present due to lowered allocation of resources to immune function and leading to reduced encapsulation of the synthetic immune challenge. Contrary to our expectations, larvae exposed to caged predators had encapsulated monofilaments significantly more than larvae not exposed to caged predators. Levels of encapsulation did not differ across temperatures, nor interact with predator exposure. Our results suggest that the previously observed increase in mortality of L. intacta exposed to caged predators is not driven by immune suppression. In situations of increased predation risk, the exposure to predator cues may induce higher levels of melanin production, which could lead to physiological damage and high energetic costs. However, the costs and risks of increased allocations to immune responses and interactions with predation stress remain unknown. PMID:27459789

  8. Scatterhoarding rodents favor higher predation risks for cache sites: The potential for predators to influence the seed dispersal process.

    PubMed

    Steele, Michael A; Rompré, Ghislain; Stratford, Jeffrey A; Zhang, Hongmao; Suchocki, Matthew; Marino, Shealyn

    2015-05-01

    Scatterhoarding rodents often place caches in the open where pilferage rates are reduced, suggesting that they tradeoff higher risks of predation for more secure cache sites. We tested this hypothesis in two study systems by measuring predation risks inferred from measures of giving-up densities (GUDs) at known cache sites and other sites for comparison. Rodent GUDs were measured with small trays containing 3 L of fine sand mixed with sunflower seeds. In the first experiment, we relied on a 2-year seed dispersal study in a natural forest to identify caches of eastern gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) and then measured GUDs at: (i) these caches; (ii) comparable points along logs and rocks where rodent activity was assumed highest; and (iii) a set of random points. We found that GUDs and, presumably, predation risks, were higher at both cache and random points than those with cover. At the second site, we measured GUDs of eastern gray squirrels in an open park system and found that GUDs were consistently lowest at the base of the tree compared to more open sites, where previous studies show caching by squirrels to be highest and pilferage rates by naïve competitors to be lowest. These results confirm that predation risks can influence scatterhoarding decisions but that they are also highly context dependent, and that the landscape of fear, now so well documented in the literature, could potentially shape the temporal and spatial patterns of seedling establishment and forest regeneration in systems where scatterhoarding is common. PMID:25827710

  9. Plasticity of parental care under the risk of predation: how much should parents reduce care?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Martin, Thomas E.

    2013-01-01

    Predation can be an important agent of natural selection shaping parental care behaviours, and can also favour behavioural plasticity. Parent birds often decrease the rate that they visit the nest to provision offspring when perceived risk is high. Yet, the plasticity of such responses may differ among species as a function of either their relative risk of predation, or the mean rate of provisioning. Here, we report parental provisioning responses to experimental increases in the perceived risk of predation. We tested responses of 10 species of bird in north temperate Arizona and subtropical Argentina that differed in their ambient risk of predation. All species decreased provisioning rates in response to the nest predator but not to a control. However, provisioning rates decreased more in species that had greater ambient risk of predation on natural nests. These results support theoretical predictions that the extent of plasticity of a trait that is sensitive to nest predation risk should vary among species in accordance with predation risk.

  10. Field vole ( Microtus agrestis) seasonal spacing behavior: the effect of predation risk by mustelids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borowski, Zbigniew; Owadowska, Edyta

    2010-05-01

    There are numerous studies showing that predation risk may change different aspects of the behavior of prey, such as habitat use, activity pattern, and foraging. Prey should exhibit the strongest antipredatory response against their most deadly predator. Small mustelids are considered the most important mammalian predators of voles. Nevertheless, there is no general agreement as to whether strong antipredatory reactions exist in natural free-living populations of voles. Here, we studied the field vole Microtus agrestis spatial reaction to high predation risk from small mustelids in the breeding (August) and nonbreeding (October) seasons under natural conditions. Voles were exposed to a caged weasel ( Mustela nivalis) and a stoat ( Mustela erminea), as well as to the odors of these predators. The reactions of 30 field voles were monitored with radiotelemetry. The field voles were found to display antipredator reactions that varied with season. In the breeding period, in response to predation risk, voles reduced locomotory activity and daily-range size, whereas in the nonbreeding period they did not. Changes in home range position were similar for control and treatment voles, in both the breeding and nonbreeding periods. The results indicate that mustelid predators modify the spatial behavior of small rodents in natural conditions depending on season. This might be a reflection of differences in state-dependent responses to predation from sexually active or inactive individuals. This suggests that the basic antipredatory reaction of voles under high predation risk from small mustelids limits their locomotory activity.

  11. Biogeographic variation in behavioral and morphological responses to predation risk.

    PubMed

    Large, Scott I; Smee, Delbert L

    2013-04-01

    The expression of prey antipredator defenses is often related to ambient consumer pressure, and prey express greater defenses under intense consumer pressure. Predation is generally greater at lower latitudes, and antipredator defenses often display a biogeographic pattern. Predation pressure may also vary significantly between habitats within latitudes, making biogeographic patterns difficult to distinguish. Furthermore, invasive predators may also influence the expression of prey defenses in ecological time. The purpose of this study was to determine how these factors influence the strength of antipredator responses. To assess patterns in prey antipredator defenses based upon geographic range (north vs. south), habitat type (wave-protected vs. wave-exposed shores), and invasive predators, we examined how native rock (Cancer irroratus) and invasive green (Carcinus maenas) crab predators influence the behavioral and morphological defenses of dogwhelk (Nucella lapillus) prey from habitats that differ in wave exposure across an ~230 km range within the Gulf of Maine. The expression of behavioral and morphological antipredatory responses varied according to wave exposure, geographic location, and predator species. Dogwhelks from areas with an established history with green crabs exhibited the largest behavioral and morphological antipredator responses to green crabs. Dogwhelk behavioral responses to rock crabs did not vary between habitats or geographic regions, although morphological responses were greater further south where predation pressure was greatest. These findings suggest that dogwhelk responses to invasive and native predators vary according to geographic location and habitat, and are strongly affected by ambient predation pressure due to the invasion history of an exotic predator. PMID:23001623

  12. Freezing behaviour facilitates bioelectric crypsis in cuttlefish faced with predation risk.

    PubMed

    Bedore, Christine N; Kajiura, Stephen M; Johnsen, Sönke

    2015-12-01

    Cephalopods, and in particular the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis, are common models for studies of camouflage and predator avoidance behaviour. Preventing detection by predators is especially important to this group of animals, most of which are soft-bodied, lack physical defences, and are subject to both visually and non-visually mediated detection. Here, we report a novel cryptic mechanism in S. officinalis in which bioelectric cues are reduced via a behavioural freeze response to a predator stimulus. The reduction of bioelectric fields created by the freeze-simulating stimulus resulted in a possible decrease in shark predation risk by reducing detectability. The freeze response may also facilitate other non-visual cryptic mechanisms to lower predation risk from a wide range of predator types. PMID:26631562

  13. Rodent foraging is affected by indirect, but not by direct, cues of predation risk.

    SciTech Connect

    Orrock, John, L.; Danielson, Brent, J.; Brinkerhoff, R., Jory

    2004-01-01

    Behavioral Ecology Vol. 15 No. 3: 433 - 437 We used foraging trays to determine whether old field mice, Peromyscus polionotus , altered foraging in response to direct cues of predation risk (urine of native and nonnative predators) and indirect cues of predation risk (foraging microhabitat, precipitation, and moon illumination). The proportion of seeds remaining in each tray (a measure of the giving-up density [GUD]) was used to measure risk perceived by mice. Mice did not alter their GUD when presented with cues of native predators (bobcats, Lynx r ufus , and red foxes, Vulpes vulpes), recently introduced predators (coyotes, Canis latrans ), nonnative predators (ocelots, Leopardus pardalis ), a native herbivore (white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus), or a water control. Rather, GUD was related to microhabitat: rodents removed more seeds from foraging trays sheltered beneath vegetative cover compared with exposed trays outside of cover. Rodents also removed more seeds during nights with precipitation and when moon illumination was low. Our results suggest that P. polionotus used indirect cues rather than direct cues to assess risk of vertebrate predation. Indirect cues may be more reliable than are direct scent cues for estimating risk from multiple vertebrate predators that present the most risk in open environments.

  14. Decomposing risk: landscape structure and wolf behavior generate different predation patterns in two sympatric ungulates.

    PubMed

    Gervasi, Vincenzo; Sand, Hakan; Zimmermann, Barbara; Mattisson, Jenny; Wabakken, Petter; Linnell, John D C

    2013-10-01

    Recolonizing carnivores can have a large impact on the status of wild ungulates, which have often modified their behavior in the absence of predation. Therefore, understanding the dynamics of reestablished predator-prey systems is crucial to predict their potential ecosystem effects. We decomposed the spatial structure of predation by recolonizing wolves (Canis lupus) on two sympatric ungulates, moose (Alces alces) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), in Scandinavia during a 10-year study. We monitored 18 wolves with GPS collars, distributed over 12 territories, and collected records from predation events. By using conditional logistic regression, we assessed the contributions of three main factors, the utilization patterns of each wolf territory, the spatial distribution of both prey species, and fine-scale landscape structure, in determining the spatial structure of moose and roe deer predation risk. The reestablished predator-prey system showed a remarkable spatial variation in kill occurrence at the intra-territorial level, with kill probabilities varying by several orders of magnitude inside the same territory. Variation in predation risk was evident also when a spatially homogeneous probability for a wolf to encounter a prey was simulated. Even inside the same territory, with the same landscape structure, and when exposed to predation by the same wolves, the two prey species experienced an opposite spatial distribution of predation risk. In particular, increased predation risk for moose was associated with open areas, especially clearcuts and young forest stands, whereas risk was lowered for roe deer in the same habitat types. Thus, fine-scale landscape structure can generate contrasting predation risk patterns in sympatric ungulates, so that they can experience large differences in the spatial distribution of risk and refuge areas when exposed to predation by a recolonizing predator. Territories with an earlier recolonization were not associated with a lower

  15. Predation Risk within Fishing Gear and Implications for South Australian Rock Lobster Fisheries.

    PubMed

    Briceño, Felipe; Linnane, Adrian Joseph; Quiroz, Juan Carlos; Gardner, Caleb; Pecl, Gretta Tatyana

    2015-01-01

    Depredation of southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) within fishing gear by the Maori octopus (Pinnoctopus cordiformis) has economic and ecological impacts on valuable fisheries in South Australia. In addition, depredation rates can be highly variable resulting in uncertainties for the fishery. We examined how in-pot lobster predation was influenced by factors such as lobster size and sex, season, fishing zone, and catch rate. Using mixed modelling techniques, we found that in-pot predation risk increased with lobster size and was higher for male lobsters. In addition, the effect of catch rate of lobsters on predation risk by octopus differed among fishing zones. There was both a seasonal and a spatial component to octopus predation, with an increased risk within discrete fishing grounds in South Australia at certain times of the year. Information about predation within lobster gear can assist fishery management decision-making, potentially leading to significant reduction in economic losses to the fishery. PMID:26489035

  16. Predation Risk within Fishing Gear and Implications for South Australian Rock Lobster Fisheries

    PubMed Central

    Briceño, Felipe; Linnane, Adrian Joseph; Quiroz, Juan Carlos; Gardner, Caleb; Pecl, Gretta Tatyana

    2015-01-01

    Depredation of southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) within fishing gear by the Maori octopus (Pinnoctopus cordiformis) has economic and ecological impacts on valuable fisheries in South Australia. In addition, depredation rates can be highly variable resulting in uncertainties for the fishery. We examined how in-pot lobster predation was influenced by factors such as lobster size and sex, season, fishing zone, and catch rate. Using mixed modelling techniques, we found that in-pot predation risk increased with lobster size and was higher for male lobsters. In addition, the effect of catch rate of lobsters on predation risk by octopus differed among fishing zones. There was both a seasonal and a spatial component to octopus predation, with an increased risk within discrete fishing grounds in South Australia at certain times of the year. Information about predation within lobster gear can assist fishery management decision-making, potentially leading to significant reduction in economic losses to the fishery. PMID:26489035

  17. Learning Temporal Patterns of Risk in a Predator-Diverse Environment

    PubMed Central

    Bosiger, Yoland J.; Lonnstedt, Oona M.; McCormick, Mark I.; Ferrari, Maud C. O.

    2012-01-01

    Predation plays a major role in shaping prey behaviour. Temporal patterns of predation risk have been shown to drive daily activity and foraging patterns in prey. Yet the ability to respond to temporal patterns of predation risk in environments inhabited by highly diverse predator communities, such as rainforests and coral reefs, has received surprisingly little attention. In this study, we investigated whether juvenile marine fish, Pomacentrus moluccensis (lemon damselfish), have the ability to learn to adjust the intensity of their antipredator response to match the daily temporal patterns of predation risk they experience. Groups of lemon damselfish were exposed to one of two predictable temporal risk patterns for six days. “Morning risk” treatment prey were exposed to the odour of Cephalopholis cyanostigma (rockcod) paired with conspecific chemical alarm cues (simulating a rockcod present and feeding) during the morning, and rockcod odour only in the evening (simulating a rockcod present but not feeding). “Evening risk” treatment prey had the two stimuli presented to them in the opposite order. When tested individually for their response to rockcod odour alone, lemon damselfish from the morning risk treatment responded with a greater antipredator response intensity in the morning than in the evening. In contrast, those lemon damselfish previously exposed to the evening risk treatment subsequently responded with a greater antipredator response when tested in the evening. The results of this experiment demonstrate that P. moluccensis have the ability to learn temporal patterns of predation risk and can adjust their foraging patterns to match the threat posed by predators at a given time of day. Our results provide the first experimental demonstration of a mechanism by which prey in a complex, multi-predator environment can learn and respond to daily patterns of predation risk. PMID:22493699

  18. Climate change enhances the negative effects of predation risk on an intermediate consumer.

    PubMed

    Miller, Luke P; Matassa, Catherine M; Trussell, Geoffrey C

    2014-12-01

    Predators are a major source of stress in natural systems because their prey must balance the benefits of feeding with the risk of being eaten. Although this 'fear' of being eaten often drives the organization and dynamics of many natural systems, we know little about how such risk effects will be altered by climate change. Here, we examined the interactive consequences of predator avoidance and projected climate warming in a three-level rocky intertidal food chain. We found that both predation risk and increased air and sea temperatures suppressed the foraging of prey in the middle trophic level, suggesting that warming may further enhance the top-down control of predators on communities. Prey growth efficiency, which measures the efficiency of energy transfer between trophic levels, became negative when prey were subjected to predation risk and warming. Thus, the combined effects of these stressors may represent an important tipping point for individual fitness and the efficiency of energy transfer in natural food chains. In contrast, we detected no adverse effects of warming on the top predator and the basal resources. Hence, the consequences of projected warming may be particularly challenging for intermediate consumers residing in food chains where risk dominates predator-prey interactions. PMID:24947942

  19. Separating spatial search and efficiency rates as components of predation risk.

    PubMed

    DeCesare, Nicholas J

    2012-11-22

    Predation risk is an important driver of ecosystems, and local spatial variation in risk can have population-level consequences by affecting multiple components of the predation process. I use resource selection and proportional hazard time-to-event modelling to assess the spatial drivers of two key components of risk--the search rate (i.e. aggregative response) and predation efficiency rate (i.e. functional response)--imposed by wolves (Canis lupus) in a multi-prey system. In my study area, both components of risk increased according to topographic variation, but anthropogenic features affected only the search rate. Predicted models of the cumulative hazard, or risk of a kill, underlying wolf search paths validated well with broad-scale variation in kill rates, suggesting that spatial hazard models provide a means of scaling up from local heterogeneity in predation risk to population-level dynamics in predator-prey systems. Additionally, I estimated an integrated model of relative spatial predation risk as the product of the search and efficiency rates, combining the distinct contributions of spatial heterogeneity to each component of risk. PMID:22977145

  20. Nest predation risk and growth strategies of passerine species: grow fast or develop traits to escape risk?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cheng, Yi-Ru; Martin, Thomas E.

    2012-01-01

    Different body components are thought to trade off in their growth and development rates, but the causes for relative prioritization of any trait remains a critical question. Offspring of species at higher risk of predation might prioritize development of locomotor traits that facilitate escaping risky environments over growth of mass. We tested this possibility in 12 altricial passerine species that differed in their risk of nest predation. We found that rates of growth and development of mass, wings, and endothermy increased with nest predation risk across species. In particular, species with higher nest predation risk exhibited relatively faster growth of wings than of mass, fledged with relatively larger wing sizes and smaller mass, and developed endothermy earlier at relatively smaller mass. This differential development can facilitate both escape from predators and survival outside of the nest environment. Tarsus growth was not differentially prioritized with respect to nest predation risk, and instead all species achieved adult tarsus size by age of fledging. We also tested whether different foraging modes (aerial, arboreal, and ground foragers) might explain the variation of differential growth of locomotor modules, but we found that little residual variation was explained. Our results suggest that differences in nest predation risk among species are associated with relative prioritization of body components to facilitate escape from the risky nest environment.

  1. How perceived predation risk shapes patterns of aging in water fleas.

    PubMed

    Pietrzak, Barbara; Dawidowicz, Piotr; Prędki, Piotr; Dańko, Maciej J

    2015-09-01

    Predation is an important selection pressure which shapes aging patterns in natural populations, and it is also a significant factor in the life history decisions of individuals. Exposure to the perceived threat of size-dependent fish predation has been shown to trigger adaptive responses in animal life history including an increase in early reproductive output. In water fleas, this response to perceived predation risk appears to have a cost, as a lifespan in an environment free of predation cues is 20% longer. The aim of this study is to establish the biodemographic basis of phenotypic differences in the water flea lifespan which are induced by the cues of fish predation. We examined mortality by fitting the Gompertz-Makeham model of mortality to large cohorts of two cladoceran species, Daphnia longispina and Diaphanosoma brachyurum. Our findings indicate that perceived exposure to the threat of fish predation (induced through chemical cues) only accelerated the rate of aging in Diaphanosoma, and not in Daphnia where the treatment led to an earlier onset of aging. The second of these two phenotypic responses is consistent with the genetically based differences between Daphnia from habitats that differ with respect to predation risk. In contrast, the response of Diaphanosoma demonstrates that the cue of extrinsic mortality-in this case, fish predation-is a key factor in shaping these cladoceran life histories in the wild, and is one of the few interventions which has been shown to induce a plastic change in the rate of aging. PMID:25985923

  2. Plastic response to a proxy cue of predation risk when direct cues are unreliable.

    PubMed

    Miehls, Andrea L J; McAdam, Andrew G; Bourdeau, Paul E; Peacor, Scott D

    2013-10-01

    Responses to proximate cues that directly affect fitness or cues directly released by selective agents are well-documented forms of phenotypic plasticity. For example, to reduce predation risk, prey change phenotype in response to light level (e.g., moon phase) when light affects predation risk from visual predators, and to chemical cues (kairomones) released by predators. Less well understood is the potential for organisms to perceive predation risk through "proxy cues": proximate cues that correlate with, but do not directly affect predation risk. Previous field studies indicate that body and spine length of an invasive cladoceran in Lake Michigan, Bythotrephes longimanus (the spiny water flea), increase during the growing season, coincident with a decrease in clutch size. Although the cause of seasonal trait changes is not known, changes are associated with warmer water temperature and increased predation risk from gape-limited fish (i.e., fish whose ability to consume Bythotrephes is limited by mouth size). Using a laboratory experiment, we found no effect of fish (Perca flavescens) kairomones on Bythotrephes morphology or life history. In contrast, higher water temperature led to longer absolute spine and body length, increased investment in morphological defense of offspring (measured as the ratio of spine-to-body length), and decreased clutch size and age at reproduction. These plastic responses are unlikely to be adaptive to temperature per se, but rather our findings indicate that temperature serves as a proxy cue of fish predation risk. Temperature correlates with risk of gape-limited fish predation due to growth of fish from larval stages incapable of consuming Bythotrephes early in the season, to larger sizes by midseason increasingly capable of consuming Bythotrephes, but limited by gape size to consuming smaller individuals. We argue that for Bythotrephes, temperature is a more reliable cue of predation risk than fish kairomones, because fish

  3. Does predation risk influence habitat use by northern redbelly dace Phoxinus eos at different spatial scales?

    PubMed

    Dupuch, A; Magnan, P; Bertolo, A; Dill, L M; Proulx, M

    2009-05-01

    This study investigated the relationship between spatial variations in predation risk and abundance of northern redbelly dace Phoxinus eos at both macroscale (littoral v. pelagic zones) and microscale (structured v. open water habitats in the littoral zone) of Canadian Shield lakes. Minnow traps were placed in both structured and open water habitats in the littoral zone of 13 Canadian Shield lakes, and estimates of the relative predation risk of P. eos in both the pelagic and the littoral zones were obtained from tethering experiments. Results showed that (1) the mean abundance of P. eos in the littoral zone was positively correlated with the relative predation risk in the pelagic zone, (2) P. eos preferentially used structured over open water habitats in the littoral zone and (3) this preference was not related to the relative predation risk in the littoral zone but decreased as the relative predation risk increased in the pelagic zone. At the lake level, these results support the hypothesis that P. eos enter the littoral zone to avoid pelagic piscivores. At the littoral zone level, the results do not necessarily contradict the widely accepted view that P. eos preferentially use structured over open habitats to reduce their predation risk, but suggest that flexibility in antipredator tactics (e.g. shelter use v. shoaling) could explain the spatial distribution of P. eos between structured and open water habitats. PMID:20735640

  4. Nest predation risk influences a cavity-nesting passerine during the post-hatching care period.

    PubMed

    Yoon, Jongmin; Kim, Byung-Su; Joo, Eun-Jin; Park, Shi-Ryong

    2016-01-01

    Some nest predators visually assess parental activities to locate a prey nest, whereas parents modify fitness-related traits to reduce the probability of nest predation, and/or nestlings fledge early to escape the risky nest environment. Here, we experimentally tested if the parental and fledging behaviours of oriental tits (Parus minor) that bred in the nest-box varied with cavity conditions associated with nest predation risk during the nestling period. The entrance of experimental nest-boxes was enlarged to create a long-term risk soon after clutch competition. A short-term risk, using simulated playbacks with a coexisting control bird and avian nest predator sound, was simultaneously applied to the nest-boxes whether or not the long-term risk existed. We found that the parents reduced their hourly feeding trips, and the nestlings fledged early with the long-term risk, although the nest mortality of the two nest-box types was low and did not differ. While this study presents a portion of prey-predator interactions with the associated uncertainties, our results highlight that the entrance size of cavities for small hole-nesting birds may play an important role in determining their fitness-related traits depending upon the degree of perceived risk of nest predation. PMID:27553176

  5. The evolution of foraging rate across local and geographic gradients in predation risk and competition.

    PubMed

    Urban, Mark C; Richardson, Jonathan L

    2015-07-01

    Multiple theories predict the evolution of foraging rates in response to environmental variation in predation risk, intraspecific competition, time constraints, and temperature. We tested six hypotheses for the evolution of foraging rate in 24 spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) populations from three latitudinally divergent sites using structural equation models derived from theory and applied to our system. We raised salamander larvae in a common-garden experiment and then assayed foraging rate under controlled conditions. Gape-limited predation risk from marbled salamanders solely explained foraging rate variation among populations at the southern site, which was dominated by this form of selection. However, at the middle and northern sites, populations evolved different foraging rates depending on their unique responses to local intraspecific density. The coupling of gape-limited predation risk from marbled salamanders and high intraspecific density at the middle site jointly contributed to selection for rapid foraging rate. At the northernmost site, intraspecific density alone explained 97% of the interpopulation variation in foraging rate. These results suggest that foraging rate has evolved multiple times in response to varying contributions from predation risk and intraspecific competition. Predation risk often varies along environmental gradients, and, thus, organisms might often shift evolutionary responses from minimizing predation risk to maximizing intraspecific competitive performance. PMID:26098352

  6. Nest predation risk influences a cavity-nesting passerine during the post-hatching care period

    PubMed Central

    Yoon, Jongmin; Kim, Byung-Su; Joo, Eun-Jin; Park, Shi-Ryong

    2016-01-01

    Some nest predators visually assess parental activities to locate a prey nest, whereas parents modify fitness-related traits to reduce the probability of nest predation, and/or nestlings fledge early to escape the risky nest environment. Here, we experimentally tested if the parental and fledging behaviours of oriental tits (Parus minor) that bred in the nest-box varied with cavity conditions associated with nest predation risk during the nestling period. The entrance of experimental nest-boxes was enlarged to create a long-term risk soon after clutch competition. A short-term risk, using simulated playbacks with a coexisting control bird and avian nest predator sound, was simultaneously applied to the nest-boxes whether or not the long-term risk existed. We found that the parents reduced their hourly feeding trips, and the nestlings fledged early with the long-term risk, although the nest mortality of the two nest-box types was low and did not differ. While this study presents a portion of prey–predator interactions with the associated uncertainties, our results highlight that the entrance size of cavities for small hole-nesting birds may play an important role in determining their fitness-related traits depending upon the degree of perceived risk of nest predation. PMID:27553176

  7. Behavioural Adjustment in Response to Increased Predation Risk: A Study in Three Duck Species

    PubMed Central

    Zimmer, Cédric; Boos, Mathieu; Bertrand, Frédéric; Robin, Jean-Patrice; Petit, Odile

    2011-01-01

    Predation directly triggers behavioural decisions designed to increase immediate survival. However, these behavioural modifications can have long term costs. There is therefore a trade-off between antipredator behaviours and other activities. This trade-off is generally considered between vigilance and only one other behaviour, thus neglecting potential compensations. In this study, we considered the effect of an increase in predation risk on the diurnal time-budget of three captive duck species during the wintering period. We artificially increased predation risk by disturbing two groups of 14 mallard and teals at different frequencies, and one group of 14 tufted ducks with a radio-controlled stressor. We recorded foraging, vigilance, preening and sleeping durations the week before, during and after disturbance sessions. Disturbed groups were compared to an undisturbed control group. We showed that in all three species, the increase in predation risk resulted in a decrease in foraging and preening and led to an increase in sleeping. It is worth noting that contrary to common observations, vigilance did not increase. However, ducks are known to be vigilant while sleeping. This complex behavioural adjustment therefore seems to be optimal as it may allow ducks to reduce their predation risk. Our results highlight the fact that it is necessary to encompass the whole individual time-budget when studying behavioural modifications under predation risk. Finally, we propose that studies of behavioural time-budget changes under predation risk should be included in the more general framework of the starvation-predation risk trade-off. PMID:21533055

  8. Feeding behavior and aggression in wild Siberut macaques (Macaca siberu) living under low predation risk.

    PubMed

    Richter, Christin; Gras, Pierre; Hodges, Keith; Ostner, Julia; Schülke, Oliver

    2015-07-01

    Investigating which factors influence feeding competition is crucial for our understanding of the diversity of social relationships. Socio-ecological models differ in their predictions whether predation risk directly influences feeding competition and which factors exactly predict contest competition. We investigated feeding competition in Siberut macaques (Macaca siberu), a species endemic to Siberut Island (West Sumatra, Indonesia). Siberut macaques experience low predation risk, as major predators (felids, raptors) are absent. They are therefore appropriate subjects to test the prediction that low predation risk reduces feeding competition. To estimate contest potential, we quantified size, spatial distribution and density of food plants, and the availability of alternative resources. We recorded behavior in food patches using a modified focal tree method. Food patches, sorted by decreasing average feeding group size, included large trees (40% of focal plant observations), lianas/strangler (16%), medium trees (9%), small (palm) trees (20%), and rattan (15%). Most food patches were clumped but occurred at low densities relative to the area of average group spread. Thus, availability of alternative food patches was low. Although food patch characteristics indicate high contest potential, the observed aggression rate (0.13 bouts between adults/h) was low relative to other primates. Average feeding group size was small relative to total group size, and feeding group size matched crown volume. Perceived predation risk was low, based on spatial and feeding behavior of juveniles. Together, these results suggest that predation risk may influence feeding competition. Social and temporal factors (patch feeding time), but not ecological factors (fruit abundance in patch and forest, alternative resources) predicted aggression frequency in food patches. Overall, comparative data are still relatively scarce, and researchers should collect more data on group spread, sub

  9. Acute changes in whole body corticosterone in response to perceived predation risk: A mechanism for anti-predator behavior in anurans?

    PubMed

    Bennett, Amanda M; Longhi, Jessica N; Chin, Eunice H; Burness, Gary; Kerr, Leslie R; Murray, Dennis L

    2016-04-01

    Anuran larvae exhibit behavioral and morphological plasticity in response to perceived predation risk, although response type and magnitude varies through ontogeny. Increased baseline corticosterone is related to morphological response to predation risk, whereas the mechanism behind behavioral plasticity remains enigmatic. Since tadpoles alter behavioral responses to risk immediately upon exposure to predator cues, we characterized changes in whole body corticosterone at an acute (<1h post-exposure) timescale. Tadpoles (Lithobates sylvaticus) at Gosner stage (GS) 25 (free-swimming, feeding larvae) increased corticosterone levels to a peak at 10-20min post-exposure to predator cues, paralleling the acute stress response observed among other taxa. Tadpoles reared for 3weeks (mean GS29) with predation risk (caged, fed Aeshnid dragonfly nymph) had lower corticosterone levels at 10-20min post-exposure to dragonfly cues than predator-naïve controls, suggesting habituation, although the magnitude of increase was markedly diminished when compared to younger tadpoles (GS25). These experiments represent the first assessment of tadpole hormonal responses to predation risk at the acute timescale. Further research is required to establish causality between hormonal responses and behavioral changes, and to examine how and why responsiveness changes over ontogeny and with chronic exposure to risk. PMID:26944484

  10. Thermal stress and predation risk trigger distinct transcriptomic responses in the intertidal snail Nucella lapillus.

    PubMed

    Chu, Nathaniel D; Miller, Luke P; Kaluziak, Stefan T; Trussell, Geoffrey C; Vollmer, Steven V

    2014-12-01

    Thermal stress and predation risk have profound effects on rocky shore organisms, triggering changes in their feeding behaviour, morphology and metabolism. Studies of thermal stress have shown that underpinning such changes in several intertidal species are specific shifts in gene and protein expression (e.g. upregulation of heat-shock proteins). But relatively few studies have examined genetic responses to predation risk. Here, we use next-generation RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to examine the transcriptomic (mRNA) response of the snail Nucella lapillus to thermal stress and predation risk. We found that like other intertidal species, N. lapillus displays a pronounced genetic response to thermal stress by upregulating many heat-shock proteins and other molecular chaperones. In contrast, the presence of a crab predator (Carcinus maenas) triggered few significant changes in gene expression in our experiment, and this response showed no significant overlap with the snail's response to thermal stress. These different gene expression profiles suggest that thermal stress and predation risk could pose distinct and potentially additive challenges for N. lapillus and that genetic responses to biotic stresses such as predation risk might be more complex and less uniform across species than genetic responses to abiotic stresses such as thermal stress. PMID:25377436

  11. Silent katydid females are at higher risk of bat predation than acoustically signalling katydid males.

    PubMed

    Raghuram, Hanumanthan; Deb, Rittik; Nandi, Diptarup; Balakrishnan, Rohini

    2015-01-01

    Males that produce conspicuous mate attraction signals are often at high risk of predation from eavesdropping predators. Females of such species typically search for signalling males and their higher motility may also place them at risk. The relative predation risk faced by males and females in the context of mate-finding using long-distance signals has rarely been investigated. In this study, we show, using a combination of diet analysis and behavioural experiments, that katydid females, who do not produce acoustic signals, are at higher risk of predation from a major bat predator, Megaderma spasma, than calling males. Female katydids were represented in much higher numbers than males in the culled remains beneath roosts of M. spasma. Playback experiments using katydid calls revealed that male calls were approached in only about one-third of the trials overall, whereas tethered, flying katydids were always approached and attacked. Our results question the idea that necessary costs of mate-finding, including risk of predation, are higher in signalling males than in searching females. PMID:25429019

  12. Silent katydid females are at higher risk of bat predation than acoustically signalling katydid males

    PubMed Central

    Raghuram, Hanumanthan; Deb, Rittik; Nandi, Diptarup; Balakrishnan, Rohini

    2015-01-01

    Males that produce conspicuous mate attraction signals are often at high risk of predation from eavesdropping predators. Females of such species typically search for signalling males and their higher motility may also place them at risk. The relative predation risk faced by males and females in the context of mate-finding using long-distance signals has rarely been investigated. In this study, we show, using a combination of diet analysis and behavioural experiments, that katydid females, who do not produce acoustic signals, are at higher risk of predation from a major bat predator, Megaderma spasma, than calling males. Female katydids were represented in much higher numbers than males in the culled remains beneath roosts of M. spasma. Playback experiments using katydid calls revealed that male calls were approached in only about one-third of the trials overall, whereas tethered, flying katydids were always approached and attacked. Our results question the idea that necessary costs of mate-finding, including risk of predation, are higher in signalling males than in searching females. PMID:25429019

  13. The strength of a female mate preference increases with predation risk

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Tae Won; Christy, John H.; Dennenmoser, Stefan; Choe, Jae C.

    2008-01-01

    When females search for mates and their perceived risk of predation increases, they less often express preferences for males that use conspicuous courtship signals, relaxing sexual selection on production of these signals. Here, we report an apparent exception to this general pattern. Courting male fiddler crabs Uca beebei sometimes build pillars of mud at the openings to their burrows in which crabs mate. Females visit several males before they choose a mate by staying and breeding in their burrows, and they preferentially visit males with pillars. Previous studies suggested that this preference is based on a visual orientation behaviour that may reduce females' risk of predation while searching for a mate. We tested this idea by determining whether the female preference for males with pillars increases with perceived predation risk. We attracted avian predators to where crabs were courting and measured the rates that sexually receptive females visited courting males with and without mud pillars. Under elevated risk, females continued to search for mates and they showed a stronger relative preference for males with pillars. Thus, when predation risk is high, females may continue to express preferences that are under natural selection because they help females avoid predation, strengthening sexual selection for use of the preferred signal. PMID:19019792

  14. The strength of a female mate preference increases with predation risk.

    PubMed

    Kim, Tae Won; Christy, John H; Dennenmoser, Stefan; Choe, Jae C

    2009-02-22

    When females search for mates and their perceived risk of predation increases, they less often express preferences for males that use conspicuous courtship signals, relaxing sexual selection on production of these signals. Here, we report an apparent exception to this general pattern. Courting male fiddler crabs Uca beebei sometimes build pillars of mud at the openings to their burrows in which crabs mate. Females visit several males before they choose a mate by staying and breeding in their burrows, and they preferentially visit males with pillars. Previous studies suggested that this preference is based on a visual orientation behaviour that may reduce females' risk of predation while searching for a mate. We tested this idea by determining whether the female preference for males with pillars increases with perceived predation risk. We attracted avian predators to where crabs were courting and measured the rates that sexually receptive females visited courting males with and without mud pillars. Under elevated risk, females continued to search for mates and they showed a stronger relative preference for males with pillars. Thus, when predation risk is high, females may continue to express preferences that are under natural selection because they help females avoid predation, strengthening sexual selection for use of the preferred signal. PMID:19019792

  15. Predation risk as a driving force for sexual segregation: a cross-population comparison.

    PubMed

    Croft, Darren P; Morrell, Lesley J; Wade, Amy S; Piyapong, Chantima; Ioannou, Christos C; Dyer, John R G; Chapman, Ben B; Wong, Yan; Krause, Jens

    2006-06-01

    Sexual segregation is widespread throughout the animal kingdom. Although a number of hypotheses have been proposed to account for observed patterns, the generality of the mechanisms remains debated. One possible reason for this is the focus on segregation patterns in large mammals such as ungulates, where the majority of studies are descriptions of a single population. Here, we present the results of a cross‐population comparison of patterns of sexual segregation in the Trinidadian guppy, Poecilia reticulata. We relate observed patterns to experimental quantification of predation risk and sexual harassment of females by males in eight populations. We find that the degree of segregation increases with predation risk, with deeper waters becoming increasingly female biased. Furthermore, we observed that levels of male harassment are lower in deeper water but only in those rivers that contain major guppy predators. We conclude that sexual segregation in guppies is consistent with the predation risk hypothesis: sexual segregation results from a combination of predation risk driving males (the more vulnerable sex) into less risky habitats and females gaining benefits of reduced sexual harassment by remaining in high‐predation environments. PMID:16649156

  16. Predation risk assessment by larval reef fishes during settlement-site selection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dixson, D. L.

    2012-03-01

    Predation rates of marine species are often highest during the transition from the pelagic to the benthic life stage. Consequently, the ability to assess predation risk when selecting a settlement site can be critical to survival. In this study, pairwise choice trials were used to determine whether larvae of three species of anemonefish ( Amphiprion melanopus, A. percula and Premnas biaculeatus) are able to (1) assess the predation risk of potential anemone settlement sites through olfactory cues alone and (2) alter their settlement choices depending on the options available (host or non-host anemone). When predation risk was assessed with host and non-host anemone species independently, all species of anemonefish significantly chose the odor associated with the low-risk settlement option over the high-risk site. Most importantly, all species of anemonefish selected water with olfactory cues from their host anemone regardless of predation risk when paired against non-host anemone odor. These results demonstrate that larval reef fishes can use olfactory cues for complex risk assessment during settlement-site selection; however, locating the correct habitat is the most important factor when selecting a settlement site.

  17. Background level of risk and the survival of predator-naive prey: can neophobia compensate for predator naivety in juvenile coral reef fishes?

    PubMed Central

    Ferrari, Maud C. O.; McCormick, Mark I.; Meekan, Mark G.; Chivers, Douglas P.

    2015-01-01

    Neophobia—the generalized fear response to novel stimuli—provides the first potential strategy that predator-naive prey may use to survive initial predator encounters. This phenotype appears to be highly plastic and present in individuals experiencing high-risk environments, but rarer in those experiencing low-risk environments. Despite the appeal of this strategy as a ‘solution’ for prey naivety, we lack evidence that this strategy provides any fitness benefit to prey. Here, we compare the relative effect of environmental risk (high versus low) and predator-recognition training (predator-naive versus predator-experienced individuals) on the survival of juvenile fish in the wild. We found that juveniles raised in high-risk conditions survived better than those raised in low-risk conditions, providing the first empirical evidence that environmental risk, in the absence of any predator-specific information, affects the way naive prey survive in a novel environment. Both risk level and experience affected survival; however, the two factors did not interact, indicating that the information provided by both factors did not interfere or enhance each other. From a mechanistic viewpoint, this indicates that the combination of the two factors may increase the intensity, and hence efficacy, of prey evasion strategies, or that both factors provide qualitatively separate benefits that would result in an additive survival success. PMID:25621337

  18. Copper Pollution Increases the Relative Importance of Predation Risk in an Aquatic Food Web.

    PubMed

    Kwan, Christopher Kent; Sanford, Eric; Long, Jeremy

    2015-01-01

    Although the cascading impact of predators depends critically on the relative role of lethal predation and predation risk, we lack an understanding of how human-caused stressors may shift this balance. Emergent evidence suggests that pollution may increase the importance of predator consumptive effects by weakening the effects of fear perceived by prey. However, this oversimplification ignores the possibility that pollution may also alter predator consumptive effects. In particular, contaminants may impair the consumptive effects of predators by altering density-dependent interactions among prey conspecifics. No study has directly compared predator consumptive and non-consumptive effects in polluted versus non-polluted settings. We addressed this issue by using laboratory mesocosms to examine the impact of sublethal doses of copper on tri-trophic interactions among estuarine predator crabs Cancer productus, carnivorous whelk prey Urosalpinx cinerea, and the basal resource barnacles Balanus glandula. We investigated crab consumptive effects (whelks culled without crab chemical cues), non-consumptive effects (whelks not culled with crab chemical cues), and total effects (whelks culled with crab chemical cues) on whelks in copper polluted and non-polluted waters. Realistic copper concentrations suppressed the effects of simulated crab lethal predation (whelk culling) by removing density-dependent feeding by whelks. Specifically, reductions in conspecific density occurring in elevated copper levels did not trigger the normal increase in whelk consumption rates of barnacles. Weakened effects of fear were only observed at extremely high copper levels, suggesting consumptive effects were more sensitive to pollution. Thus, pollution may shape communities by altering the roles of predators and interactions among prey. PMID:26172044

  19. Copper Pollution Increases the Relative Importance of Predation Risk in an Aquatic Food Web

    PubMed Central

    Kwan, Christopher Kent; Sanford, Eric; Long, Jeremy

    2015-01-01

    Although the cascading impact of predators depends critically on the relative role of lethal predation and predation risk, we lack an understanding of how human-caused stressors may shift this balance. Emergent evidence suggests that pollution may increase the importance of predator consumptive effects by weakening the effects of fear perceived by prey. However, this oversimplification ignores the possibility that pollution may also alter predator consumptive effects. In particular, contaminants may impair the consumptive effects of predators by altering density-dependent interactions among prey conspecifics. No study has directly compared predator consumptive and non-consumptive effects in polluted versus non-polluted settings. We addressed this issue by using laboratory mesocosms to examine the impact of sublethal doses of copper on tri-trophic interactions among estuarine predator crabs Cancer productus, carnivorous whelk prey Urosalpinx cinerea, and the basal resource barnacles Balanus glandula. We investigated crab consumptive effects (whelks culled without crab chemical cues), non-consumptive effects (whelks not culled with crab chemical cues), and total effects (whelks culled with crab chemical cues) on whelks in copper polluted and non-polluted waters. Realistic copper concentrations suppressed the effects of simulated crab lethal predation (whelk culling) by removing density-dependent feeding by whelks. Specifically, reductions in conspecific density occurring in elevated copper levels did not trigger the normal increase in whelk consumption rates of barnacles. Weakened effects of fear were only observed at extremely high copper levels, suggesting consumptive effects were more sensitive to pollution. Thus, pollution may shape communities by altering the roles of predators and interactions among prey. PMID:26172044

  20. Available benthic habitat type may influence predation risk in larval lampreys

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, Dustin M.; Welsh, Stuart; Turk, Philip J.

    2012-01-01

    Population declines of lamprey species have largely been attributed to habitat degradation, yet there still remain many unanswered questions about the relationships between lampreys and their habitats (Torgensen & Close 2004; Smith et al. 2011). One scarcely researched area of lamprey ecology is the effect of predation on lampreys (Cochran 2009). Specifically, the influence of available habitat on predation risk has not been documented for larval lampreys but may be important to the management and conservation of lamprey populations.

  1. Spatial Patterning of Prey at Reproduction to Reduce Predation Risk: What Drives Dispersion from Groups?

    PubMed

    DeMars, Craig A; Breed, Greg A; Potts, Jonathan R; Boutin, Stan

    2016-05-01

    Group living is a widespread behavior thought to be an evolutionary adaptation for reducing predation risk. Many group-living species, however, spend a portion of their life cycle as dispersed individuals, suggesting that the costs and benefits of these opposing behaviors vary temporally. Here, we evaluated mechanistic hypotheses for explaining individual dispersion as a tactic for reducing predation risk at reproduction (i.e., birthing) in an otherwise group-living animal. Using simulation analyses parameterized by empirical data, we assessed whether dispersion increases reproductive success by (i) increasing predator search time, (ii) reducing predator encounter rates because individuals are inconspicuous relative to groups, or (iii) eliminating the risk of multiple kills per encounter. Simulations indicate that dispersion becomes favorable only when detectability increases with group size and there is risk of multiple kills per encounter. This latter effect, however, is likely the primary mechanism driving females to disperse at reproduction because group detectability effects are presumably constant year-round. We suggest that the risk of multiple kills imposed by highly vulnerable offspring may be an important factor influencing dispersive behavior in many species, and conservation strategies for such species will require protecting sufficient space to allow dispersion to effectively reduce predation risk. PMID:27104999

  2. Elevated predation risk changes mating behaviour and courtship in a fiddler crab

    PubMed Central

    Koga, T.; Backwell, P. R. Y.; Jennions, M. D.; Christy, J. H.

    1998-01-01

    The fiddler crab, Uca beebei, lives in individually defended burrows, in mixed-sex colonies on intertidal mud flats. Avian predation is common, especially of crabs unable to escape into burrows. Mating pairs form in two ways. Females either mate on the surface at their burrow entrance ('surface mating') or leave their own burrow and sequentially enter and leave ('sample') courting males' burrows, before staying in one to mate underground ('burrow mating'). We tested whether perceived predation risk affects the relative frequency of these mating modes. We first observed mating under natural levels of predation during one biweekly, semi-lunar cycle. We then experimentally increased the perceived predation risk by attracting grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) to each half of the study site in two successive biweekly cycles. In each experimental cycle, crabs were significantly less likely to mate on the side with more birds. Moreover, on the side with elevated predation risk, the number of females leaving burrows to sample was greatly reduced relative to the number of females that surface-mated. Males waved less and built fewer mud pillars, which attract females, when birds were present. We discuss several plausible proximate explanations for these results and the effect of changes in predation regime on sexual selection.

  3. Predation risk suppresses the positive feedback between size structure and cannibalism.

    PubMed

    Kishida, Osamu; Trussell, Geoffrey C; Ohno, Ayaka; Kuwano, Shinya; Ikawa, Takuya; Nishimura, Kinya

    2011-11-01

    1. Cannibalism can play a prominent role in the structuring and dynamics of ecological communities. Previous studies have emphasized the importance of size structure and density of cannibalistic species in shaping short- and long-term cannibalism dynamics, but our understanding of how predators influence cannibalism dynamics is limited. This is despite widespread evidence that many prey species exhibit behavioural and morphological adaptations in response to predation risk. 2. This study examined how the presence and absence of predation risk from larval dragonflies Aeshna nigroflava affected cannibalism dynamics in its prey larval salamanders Hynobius retardatus. 3. We found that feedback dynamics between size structure and cannibalism depended on whether dragonfly predation risk was present. In the absence of dragonfly risk cues, a positive feedback between salamander size structure and cannibalism through time occurred because most of the replicates in this treatment contained at least one salamander larvae having an enlarged gape (i.e. cannibal). In contrast, this feedback and the emergence of cannibalism were rarely observed in the presence of the dragonfly risk cues. Once salamander size divergence occurred, experimental reversals of the presence or absence of dragonfly risk cues did not alter existing cannibalism dynamics as the experiment progressed. Thus, the effects of risk on the mechanisms driving cannibalism dynamics likely operated during the early developmental period of the salamander larvae. 4. The effects of dragonfly predation risk on behavioural aspects of cannibalistic interactions among hatchlings may prohibit the initiation of dynamics between size structure and cannibalism. Our predation trials clearly showed that encounter rates among hatchlings and biting and ingestion rates of prospective prey by prospective cannibals were significantly lower in the presence vs. absence of dragonfly predation risk even though the size asymmetry

  4. Risk assessment and predator learning in a changing world: understanding the impacts of coral reef degradation

    PubMed Central

    Chivers, Douglas P.; McCormick, Mark I.; Allan, Bridie J. M.; Ferrari, Maud C. O.

    2016-01-01

    Habitat degradation is among the top drivers of the loss of global biodiversity. This problem is particularly acute in coral reef system. Here we investigated whether coral degradation influences predator risk assessment and learning for damselfish. When in a live coral environment, Ambon damselfish were able to learn the identity of an unknown predator upon exposure to damselfish alarm cues combined with predator odour and were able to socially transmit this learned recognition to naïve conspecifics. However, in the presence of dead coral water, damselfish failed to learn to recognize the predator through alarm cue conditioning and hence could not transmit the information socially. Unlike alarm cues of Ambon damselfish that appear to be rendered unusable in degraded coral habitats, alarm cues of Nagasaki damselfish remain viable in this same environment. Nagasaki damselfish were able to learn predators through conditioning with alarm cues in degraded habitats and subsequently transmit the information socially to Ambon damselfish. Predator-prey dynamics may be profoundly affected as habitat degradation proceeds; the success of one species that appears to have compromised predation assessment and learning, may find itself reliant on other species that are seemingly unaffected by the same degree of habitat degradation. PMID:27611870

  5. Risk assessment and predator learning in a changing world: understanding the impacts of coral reef degradation.

    PubMed

    Chivers, Douglas P; McCormick, Mark I; Allan, Bridie J M; Ferrari, Maud C O

    2016-01-01

    Habitat degradation is among the top drivers of the loss of global biodiversity. This problem is particularly acute in coral reef system. Here we investigated whether coral degradation influences predator risk assessment and learning for damselfish. When in a live coral environment, Ambon damselfish were able to learn the identity of an unknown predator upon exposure to damselfish alarm cues combined with predator odour and were able to socially transmit this learned recognition to naïve conspecifics. However, in the presence of dead coral water, damselfish failed to learn to recognize the predator through alarm cue conditioning and hence could not transmit the information socially. Unlike alarm cues of Ambon damselfish that appear to be rendered unusable in degraded coral habitats, alarm cues of Nagasaki damselfish remain viable in this same environment. Nagasaki damselfish were able to learn predators through conditioning with alarm cues in degraded habitats and subsequently transmit the information socially to Ambon damselfish. Predator-prey dynamics may be profoundly affected as habitat degradation proceeds; the success of one species that appears to have compromised predation assessment and learning, may find itself reliant on other species that are seemingly unaffected by the same degree of habitat degradation. PMID:27611870

  6. Optimal Predator Risk Assessment by the Sonar-Jamming Arctiine Moth Bertholdia trigona

    PubMed Central

    Corcoran, Aaron J.; Wagner, Ryan D.; Conner, William E.

    2013-01-01

    Nearly all animals face a tradeoff between seeking food and mates and avoiding predation. Optimal escape theory holds that an animal confronted with a predator should only flee when benefits of flight (increased survival) outweigh the costs (energetic costs, lost foraging time, etc.). We propose a model for prey risk assessment based on the predator's stage of attack. Risk level should increase rapidly from when the predator detects the prey to when it commits to the attack. We tested this hypothesis using a predator – the echolocating bat – whose active biosonar reveals its stage of attack. We used a prey defense – clicking used for sonar jamming by the tiger moth Bertholdia trigona– that can be readily studied in the field and laboratory and is enacted simultaneously with evasive flight. We predicted that prey employ defenses soon after being detected and targeted, and that prey defensive thresholds discriminate between legitimate predatory threats and false threats where a nearby prey is attacked. Laboratory and field experiments using playbacks of ultrasound signals and naturally behaving bats, respectively, confirmed our predictions. Moths clicked soon after bats detected and targeted them. Also, B. trigona clicking thresholds closely matched predicted optimal thresholds for discriminating legitimate and false predator threats for bats using search and approach phase echolocation – the period when bats are searching for and assessing prey. To our knowledge, this is the first quantitative study to correlate the sensory stimuli that trigger defensive behaviors with measurements of signals provided by predators during natural attacks in the field. We propose theoretical models for explaining prey risk assessment depending on the availability of cues that reveal a predator's stage of attack. PMID:23671686

  7. Optimal predator risk assessment by the sonar-jamming arctiine moth Bertholdia trigona.

    PubMed

    Corcoran, Aaron J; Wagner, Ryan D; Conner, William E

    2013-01-01

    Nearly all animals face a tradeoff between seeking food and mates and avoiding predation. Optimal escape theory holds that an animal confronted with a predator should only flee when benefits of flight (increased survival) outweigh the costs (energetic costs, lost foraging time, etc.). We propose a model for prey risk assessment based on the predator's stage of attack. Risk level should increase rapidly from when the predator detects the prey to when it commits to the attack. We tested this hypothesis using a predator--the echolocating bat--whose active biosonar reveals its stage of attack. We used a prey defense--clicking used for sonar jamming by the tiger moth Bertholdia trigona--that can be readily studied in the field and laboratory and is enacted simultaneously with evasive flight. We predicted that prey employ defenses soon after being detected and targeted, and that prey defensive thresholds discriminate between legitimate predatory threats and false threats where a nearby prey is attacked. Laboratory and field experiments using playbacks of ultrasound signals and naturally behaving bats, respectively, confirmed our predictions. Moths clicked soon after bats detected and targeted them. Also, B. trigona clicking thresholds closely matched predicted optimal thresholds for discriminating legitimate and false predator threats for bats using search and approach phase echolocation--the period when bats are searching for and assessing prey. To our knowledge, this is the first quantitative study to correlate the sensory stimuli that trigger defensive behaviors with measurements of signals provided by predators during natural attacks in the field. We propose theoretical models for explaining prey risk assessment depending on the availability of cues that reveal a predator's stage of attack. PMID:23671686

  8. Predation risk assessment by olfactory and visual cues in a coral reef fish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCormick, M. I.; Manassa, R.

    2008-03-01

    Assessment of predation risk is vital for the success of an individual. Primary cues for the assessment include visual and olfactory stimuli, but the relative importance of these sources of information for risk assessment has seldom been assessed for marine fishes. This study examined the importance of visual and chemical cues in assessing risk for the star goby, Asterropteryx semipunctatus. Visual and chemical cue intensities were used that were indicative of a high threat situation. The behavioural response elicited by both the visual cues of a predator (the rock cod, Cephalopholis boenak) and the chemical alarm cues from conspecifics were similar in magnitude, with responses including a decrease in feeding strikes and moves. A bobbing behaviour was exhibited when the predator was visible and not when only exposed to the chemical alarm cue. When visual and chemical cues were presented together they yielded a stronger antipredator response than when gobies were exposed solely to conspecific alarm cues. This suggests additivity of risk assessment information at the levels of threat used, however, the goby’s response is also likely to depend on the environmental and social context of the predator-prey encounter. This study highlights the importance of chemical cues in the assessment of predation risk for a coral reef fish.

  9. What cues do ungulates use to assess predation risk in dense temperate forests?

    PubMed

    Kuijper, Dries P J; Verwijmeren, Mart; Churski, Marcin; Zbyryt, Adam; Schmidt, Krzysztof; Jędrzejewska, Bogumiła; Smit, Chris

    2014-01-01

    Anti-predator responses by ungulates can be based on habitat features or on the near-imminent threat of predators. In dense forest, cues that ungulates use to assess predation risk likely differ from half-open landscapes, as scent relative to sight is predicted to be more important. We studied, in the Białowieża Primeval Forest (Poland), whether perceived predation risk in red deer (Cervus elaphus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa) is related to habitat visibility or olfactory cues of a predator. We used camera traps in two different set-ups to record undisturbed ungulate behavior and fresh wolf (Canis lupus) scats as olfactory cue. Habitat visibility at fixed locations in deciduous old growth forest affected neither vigilance levels nor visitation rate and cumulative visitation time of both ungulate species. However, red deer showed a more than two-fold increase of vigilance level from 22% of the time present on control plots to 46% on experimental plots containing one wolf scat. Higher vigilance came at the expense of time spent foraging, which decreased from 32% to 12% while exposed to the wolf scat. These behavioral changes were most pronounced during the first week of the experiment but continuous monitoring of the plots suggested that they might last for several weeks. Wild boar did not show behavioral responses indicating higher perceived predation risk. Visitation rate and cumulative visitation time were not affected by the presence of a wolf scat in both ungulate species. The current study showed that perceived predation risk in red deer and wild boar is not related to habitat visibility in a dense forest ecosystem. However, olfactory cues of wolves affected foraging behavior of their preferred prey species red deer. We showed that odor of wolves in an ecologically equivalent dose is sufficient to create fine-scale risk factors for red deer. PMID:24404177

  10. Oviposition site choice under conflicting risks demonstrates that aquatic predators drive terrestrial egg-laying

    PubMed Central

    Touchon, Justin C.; Worley, Julie L.

    2015-01-01

    Laying eggs out of water was crucial to the transition to land and has evolved repeatedly in multiple animal phyla. However, testing hypotheses about this transition has been difficult because extant species only breed in one environment. The pantless treefrog, Dendropsophus ebraccatus, makes such tests possible because they lay both aquatic and arboreal eggs. Here, we test the oviposition site choices of D. ebraccatus under conflicting risks of arboreal egg desiccation and aquatic egg predation, thereby estimating the relative importance of each selective agent on reproduction. We also measured discrimination between habitats with and without predators and development of naturally laid aquatic and arboreal eggs. Aquatic embryos in nature developed faster than arboreal embryos, implying no cost to aquatic egg laying. In choice tests, D. ebraccatus avoided habitats with fish, showing that they can detect aquatic egg predators. Most importantly, D. ebraccatus laid most eggs in the water when faced with only desiccation risk, but switched to laying eggs arboreally when desiccation risk and aquatic predators were both present. This provides the first experimental evidence to our knowledge that aquatic predation risk influences non-aquatic oviposition and strongly supports the hypothesis that it was a driver of the evolution of terrestrial reproduction. PMID:25948689

  11. Effects of parents and Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater) on nest predation risk for a songbird

    PubMed Central

    Latif, Quresh S; Heath, Sacha K; Rotenberry, John T

    2012-01-01

    Nest predation limits avian fitness, so ornithologists study nest predation, but they often only document patterns of predation rates without substantively investigating underlying mechanisms. Parental behavior and predator ecology are two fundamental drivers of predation rates and patterns, but the role of parents is less certain, particularly for songbirds. Previous work reproduced microhabitat-predation patterns experienced by Yellow Warblers (Setophaga petechia) in the Mono Lake basin at experimental nests without parents, suggesting that these patterns were driven by predator ecology rather than predator interactions with parents. In this study, we further explored effects of post-initiation parental behavior (nest defense and attendance) on predation risk by comparing natural versus experimental patterns related to territory density, seasonal timing of nest initiation, and nest age. Rates of parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater) were high in this system (49% nests parasitized), so we also examined parasitism-predation relationships. Natural nest predation rates (NPR) correlated negatively with breeding territory density and nonlinearly (U-shaped relationship) with nest-initiation timing, but experimental nests recorded no such patterns. After adjusting natural-nest data to control for these differences from experimental nests other than the presence of parents (e.g., defining nest failure similarly and excluding nestling-period data), we obtained similar results. Thus, parents were necessary to produce observed patterns. Lower natural NPR compared with experimental NPR suggested that parents reduced predation rates via nest defense, so this parental behavior or its consequences were likely correlated with density or seasonal timing. In contrast, daily predation rates decreased with nest age for both nest types, indicating this pattern did not involve parents. Parasitized nests suffered higher rates of partial predation but lower rates of

  12. Evidence of the Trade-Off between Starvation and Predation Risks in Ducks

    PubMed Central

    Zimmer, Cédric; Boos, Mathieu; Poulin, Nicolas; Gosler, Andrew; Petit, Odile; Robin, Jean-Patrice

    2011-01-01

    The theory of trade-off between starvation and predation risks predicts a decrease in body mass in order to improve flight performance when facing high predation risk. To date, this trade-off has mainly been validated in passerines, birds that store limited body reserves for short-term use. In the largest avian species in which the trade-off has been investigated (the mallard, Anas platyrhynchos), the slope of the relationship between mass and flight performance was steeper in proportion to lean body mass than in passerines. In order to verify whether the same case can be applied to other birds with large body reserves, we analyzed the response to this trade-off in two other duck species, the common teal (Anas crecca) and the tufted duck (Aythya fuligula). Predation risk was simulated by disturbing birds. Ducks within disturbed groups were compared to non-disturbed control birds. In disturbed groups, both species showed a much greater decrease in food intake and body mass during the period of simulated high risk than those observed in the control group. This loss of body mass allows reaching a more favourable wing loading and increases power for flight, hence enhancing flight performances and reducing predation risk. Moreover, body mass loss and power margin gain in both species were higher than in passerines, as observed in mallards. Our results suggest that the starvation-predation risk trade-off is one of the major life history traits underlying body mass adjustments, and these findings can be generalized to all birds facing predation. Additionally, the response magnitude seems to be influenced by the strategy of body reserve management. PMID:21789252

  13. White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fawn risk from Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) predation during summer

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mech, L. David; Morris, Aaron; Barber-Meyer, Shannon M.

    2015-01-01

    Little is known about how often various prey animals are at risk of predation by Gray Wolves (Canis lupus). We used a system to monitor the presence during the day of two radio-collared Gray Wolves within 2 km of a radio-collared White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) with a fawn or fawns in August 2013 in the Superior National Forest of northeastern Minnesota. We concluded that the fawn or fawns were at risk of predation by at least one wolf at least daily.

  14. Foraging Patch Selection in Winter: A Balance between Predation Risk and Thermoregulation Benefit

    PubMed Central

    Villén-Pérez, Sara; Carrascal, Luis M.; Seoane, Javier

    2013-01-01

    In winter, foraging activity is intended to optimize food search while minimizing both thermoregulation costs and predation risk. Here we quantify the relative importance of thermoregulation and predation in foraging patch selection of woodland birds wintering in a Mediterranean montane forest. Specifically, we account for thermoregulation benefits related to temperature, and predation risk associated with both illumination of the feeding patch and distance to the nearest refuge provided by vegetation. We measured the amount of time that 38 marked individual birds belonging to five small passerine species spent foraging at artificial feeders. Feeders were located in forest patches that vary in distance to protective cover and exposure to sun radiation; temperature and illumination were registered locally by data loggers. Our results support the influence of both thermoregulation benefits and predation costs on feeding patch choice. The influence of distance to refuge (negative relationship) was nearly three times higher than that of temperature (positive relationship) in determining total foraging time spent at a patch. Light intensity had a negligible and no significant effect. This pattern was generalizable among species and individuals within species, and highlights the preponderance of latent predation risk over thermoregulation benefits on foraging decisions of birds wintering in temperate Mediterranean forests. PMID:23874632

  15. Influence of recruit condition on food competition and predation risk in a coral reef fish.

    PubMed

    Booth, David J; Beretta, Giglia A

    2004-07-01

    Settlement rate is considered to be a major determinant of the population structure of coral reef fishes. In this study, the effects of larval physiological condition on survival, predation risk and competitive ability are assessed for a small damselfish, Pomacentrus moluccensis. New settlers were collected and fed for 5 days to produce high and low condition (measured as lipid) treatment fish. In a field experiment, pairs (one high and one low condition fish) were transplanted to corals. Persistence over 2 weeks was much higher (100% vs. 25%) in high condition fish. In mixed groups in the laboratory, high condition fish were both aggressively dominant and consumed more of a limiting prey source than low condition fish. In addition, low condition fish were shown to be at much higher risk of predation. All of the low condition fish but only 33% of high condition fish in mixed groups were consumed by fish predators, and in a separate experiment, 73% of feeding strikes by predators were directed at low condition fish. Quality of new settlers can have an important influence on subsequent juvenile survival. The mechanisms for this effect are likely to include a combination of effects of condition on food competition and predation risk. PMID:15179583

  16. Amygdala regulates risk of predation in rats foraging in a dynamic fear environment

    PubMed Central

    Choi, June-Seek; Kim, Jeansok J.

    2010-01-01

    In a natural environment, foragers constantly face the risk of encountering predators. Fear is a defensive mechanism evolved to protect animals from danger by balancing the animals’ needs for primary resources with the risk of predation, and the amygdala is implicated in mediating fear responses. However, the functions of fear and amygdala in foraging behavior are not well characterized because of the technical difficulty in quantifying prey–predator interaction with real (unpredictable) predators. Thus, the present study investigated the rat's foraging behavior in a seminaturalistic environment when confronted with a predator-like robot programmed to surge toward the animal seeking food. Rats initially fled into the nest and froze (demonstrating fear) and then cautiously approached and seized the food as a function of decreasing nest−food and increasing food−robot distances. The likelihood of procuring food increased and decreased via lesioning/inactivating and disinhibiting the amygdala, respectively. These results indicate that the amygdala bidirectionally regulates risk behavior in rats foraging in a dynamic fear environment. PMID:21115817

  17. Enhancement of chromatic contrast increases predation risk for striped butterflies

    PubMed Central

    Stobbe, Nina; Schaefer, H. Martin

    2008-01-01

    Many prey species have evolved defensive colour patterns to avoid attacks. One type of camouflage, disruptive coloration, relies on contrasting patterns that hinder predators' ability to recognize an object. While high contrasts are used to facilitate detection in many visual communication systems, they are thought to provide misleading information about prey appearance in disruptive patterns. A fundamental tenet in disruptive coloration theory is the principle of ‘maximum disruptive contrast’, i.e. disruptive patterns are more effective when higher contrasts are involved. We tested this principle in highly contrasting stripes that have often been described as disruptive patterns. Varying the strength of chromatic contrast between stripes and adjacent pattern elements in artificial butterflies, we found a strong negative correlation between survival probability and chromatic contrast strength. We conclude that too high a contrast leads to increased conspicuousness rather than to effective camouflage. However, artificial butterflies that sported contrasts similar to those of the model species Limenitis camilla survived equally well as background-matching butterflies without these stripes. Contrasting stripes do thus not necessarily increase predation rates. This result may provide new insights into the design and characteristics of a range of colour patterns such as sexual, mimetic and aposematic signals. PMID:18381256

  18. Plant resistance reduces the strength of consumptive and non-consumptive effects of predators on aphids.

    PubMed

    Kersch-Becker, Mônica F; Thaler, Jennifer S

    2015-09-01

    1. The impact of predators on prey has traditionally been attributed to the act of consumption. Prey responses to the presence of the predator (non-consumptive effects), however, can be as important as predation itself. While plant defences are known to influence predator-prey interactions, their relative effects on consumptive vs. non-consumptive effects are not well understood. 2. We evaluated the consequences of plant resistance and predators (Hippodamia convergens) on the mass, number of nymphs, population growth, density and dispersal of aphids (Macrosiphum euphorbiae). We tested for the effects of plant resistance on non-consumptive and consumptive effects of predators on aphid performance and dispersal using a combination of path analysis and experimental manipulation of predation risk. 3. We manipulated plant resistance using genetically modified lines of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) that vary incrementally in the expression of the jasmonate pathway, which mediates induced resistance to insects and manipulated aphid exposure to lethal and risk predators. Predation risk predators had mandibles impaired to prevent killing. 4. Plant resistance reduced predation rate (consumptive effect) on high resistance plants. As a consequence, predators had no impact on the number of nymphs, aphid density or population growth on high resistance plants, whereas on low resistance plants, predators reduced aphid density by 35% and population growth by 86%. Path analysis and direct manipulation of predation risk showed that predation risk rather than predation rate promoted aphid dispersal and varied with host plant resistance. Aphid dispersal in response to predation risk was greater on low compared to high resistance plants. The predation risk experiment also showed that the number of aphid nymphs increased in the presence of risk predators but did not translate into increased population growth. 5. In conclusion, the consumptive and non-consumptive components of predators

  19. Evolution: predator versus parasite.

    PubMed

    Stevens, Martin

    2014-05-19

    Both predators and brood parasites can be major threats to the reproduction of many birds. A new study shows that some cuckoo chicks can help deter nest predators, potentially improving host reproductive success when predation risks are high. PMID:24845665

  20. Avoidance of mammalian predators by patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) in a risk landscape.

    PubMed

    Burnham, Dawn; Riordan, Philip

    2012-01-01

    Primates and felids often occupy the same landscape, hence evolutionary theory predicts that proximate predator-prey mechanisms will influence both groups' ecology. Erythrocebus patas are potentially vulnerable to a number of predators and exhibit an array of morphological and behavioural predator avoidance strategies. Here, two concurrent studies, one on E. patas and one on the mammalian carnivore assemblage, in the Acacia drepanolobium woodland of Sweetwaters Game Reserve (SGR), Laikipia, Kenya, provided an opportunity to explore interactions between the two taxa, and serve as an example whereby data from different methodologies can be interpreted together. Static interaction models of predation risk due to leopards, lions, black-backed jackals and spotted hyaenas were developed and interpreted with actual and potential dietary information, collected during the study and from the literature, respectively. This amalgamation of field data showed that E. patas in SGR avoided areas with the highest risk of encountering leopards. Furthermore, the patterns of E. patas ranging suggested that males travelling in small bachelor groups were less affected by other predators than females in large social groups. Bachelor males avoided only the most risky areas of the reserve. PMID:23363589

  1. Risky Business: Do Native Rodents Use Habitat and Odor Cues to Manage Predation Risk in Australian Deserts?

    PubMed Central

    Spencer, Emma E.; Crowther, Mathew S.; Dickman, Christopher R.

    2014-01-01

    In open, arid environments with limited shelter there may be strong selection on small prey species to develop behaviors that facilitate predator avoidance. Here, we predicted that rodents should avoid predator odor and open habitats to reduce their probability of encounter with potential predators, and tested our predictions using a native Australian desert rodent, the spinifex hopping-mouse (Notomys alexis). We tested the foraging and movement responses of N. alexis to non-native predator (fox and cat) odor, in sheltered and open macro- and microhabitats. Rodents did not respond to predator odor, perhaps reflecting the inconsistent selection pressure that is imposed on prey species in the desert environment due to the transience of predator-presence. However, they foraged primarily in the open and moved preferentially across open sand. The results suggest that N. alexis relies on escape rather than avoidance behavior when managing predation risk, with its bipedal movement probably allowing it to exploit open environments most effectively. PMID:24587396

  2. Mating Behavior of Daphnia: Impacts of Predation Risk, Food Quantity, and Reproductive Phase of Females

    PubMed Central

    La, Geung-Hwan; Choi, Jong-Yun; Chang, Kwang-Hyeon; Jang, Min-Ho; Joo, Gea-Jae; Kim, Hyun-Woo

    2014-01-01

    High predation risk and food depletion lead to sexual reproduction in cyclically parthenogenetic Daphnia. Mating, the core of sexual reproduction, also occurs under these conditions. Assessment of the environmental conditions and alteration of mating efforts may aid in determining the success of sexual reproduction. Here, we evaluated the impacts of predation risk, food quantity, and reproductive phase of females on the mating behavior of Daphnia obtusa males including contact frequency and duration using video analysis. Mating–related behavior involved male–female contact (mating) as well as male–male contact (fighting). Mating frequency increased while unnecessary fighting decreased in the presence of predation risk. In addition, low food concentration reduced fighting between males. Males attempted to attach to sexual females more than asexual females, and fighting occurred more frequently in the presence of sexual females. Duration of mating was relatively long; however, males separated shortly after contact in terms of fighting behavior. Thus, assessment of environmental factors and primary sexing of mates were performed before actual contact, possibly mechanically, and precise sex discrimination was conducted after contact. These results suggest that mating in Daphnia is not a random process but rather a balance between predation risk and energetic cost that results in changes in mating and fighting strategies. PMID:25111600

  3. Mating behavior of Daphnia: impacts of predation risk, food quantity, and reproductive phase of females.

    PubMed

    La, Geung-Hwan; Choi, Jong-Yun; Chang, Kwang-Hyeon; Jang, Min-Ho; Joo, Gea-Jae; Kim, Hyun-Woo

    2014-01-01

    High predation risk and food depletion lead to sexual reproduction in cyclically parthenogenetic Daphnia. Mating, the core of sexual reproduction, also occurs under these conditions. Assessment of the environmental conditions and alteration of mating efforts may aid in determining the success of sexual reproduction. Here, we evaluated the impacts of predation risk, food quantity, and reproductive phase of females on the mating behavior of Daphnia obtusa males including contact frequency and duration using video analysis. Mating-related behavior involved male-female contact (mating) as well as male-male contact (fighting). Mating frequency increased while unnecessary fighting decreased in the presence of predation risk. In addition, low food concentration reduced fighting between males. Males attempted to attach to sexual females more than asexual females, and fighting occurred more frequently in the presence of sexual females. Duration of mating was relatively long; however, males separated shortly after contact in terms of fighting behavior. Thus, assessment of environmental factors and primary sexing of mates were performed before actual contact, possibly mechanically, and precise sex discrimination was conducted after contact. These results suggest that mating in Daphnia is not a random process but rather a balance between predation risk and energetic cost that results in changes in mating and fighting strategies. PMID:25111600

  4. Rodents balancing a variety of risks: invasive fire ants and indirect and direct indicators of predation risk.

    SciTech Connect

    Orrock, John, L.; Danielson, Brent, J.

    2004-06-08

    Oecologia (2004) 140: 662 - 667 We used foraging trays to compare how old field mice, Peromyscus polionotus, altered foraging in response to the presence of fire ants, Solenopsisinvicta, and in the presence of direct (predator urine) and indirect (sheltered or exposed micro habitat, moonlight, and precipitation) indicators of predation risk. Foraging reductions elicited by S. invicta were greater than reductions in response to well-documented indicators of risk (i.e., moonlit nights) and the presence of predator urine. The presence of S. invicta always led to reduced foraging, but the overall impact of S. invicta was dependent upon microhabitat and precipitation. When S. invicta was not present, foraging was greater in sheltered microhabitats compared to exposed microhabitats. S. invicta made sheltered microhabitats equivalent to more risky exposed microhabitats, and this effect was especially pronounced on nights without precipitation. The effect of S. invicta suggests that interactions with S. invicta may entail a potentially heavy cost or that presence of S. invicta may represent a more reliable indicator of imminent competition or predation compared to indirect cues of risk and predator urine. The presence of S. invicta led to reduced foraging under situations when foraging activity would otherwise be greatest (i.e., under vegetative cover), potentially reducing habitat quality for P. polionotus and the distribution of seeds consumed by rodents.

  5. Caught between two Allee effects: trade-off between reproduction and predation risk.

    PubMed

    Pavlová, Viola; Berec, Ludĕk; Boukal, David S

    2010-06-01

    Reproductive activities are often associated with conspicuous morphology or behaviour that could be exploited by predators. Individuals can therefore face a trade-off between reproduction and predation risk. Here we use simple models to explore population-dynamical consequences of such a trade-off for populations subject to a mate-finding Allee effect and an Allee effect due to predation. We present our results in the light of populations that belong to endangered species or pests and study their viability and resilience. We distinguish several qualitative scenarios characterized by the shape and strength of the trade-off and, in particular, identify conditions for which the populations survive or go extinct. Reproduction can be so costly that the population always goes extinct. In other cases, the population goes extinct only over a certain range of low, intermediate or high levels of reproductive activities. Moreover, we show that predator removal (e.g. in an attempt to save an endangered prey species) has the least effect on populations with low cost of reproduction in terms of predation and, conversely, predator addition (e.g. to eradicate a pest) is most effective for populations with high predation cost of reproduction. Our results indicate that a detailed knowledge of the trade-off can be crucial in applications: for some trade-off shapes, only intermediate levels of reproductive activities might guarantee population survival, while they can lead to extinction for others. We therefore suggest that the fate of populations subject to the two antagonistic Allee effects should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Although the literature offers no quantitative data on possible trade-off shapes in any taxa, indirect evidence suggests that the trade-off and both Allee effects can occur simultaneously, e.g. in the golden egg bug Phyllomorpha laciniata. PMID:20227422

  6. Assessing predation risks for small fish in a large river ecosystem between contrasting habitats and turbidity conditions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dodrill, Michael J.; Yard, Mike; Pine, William E., III

    2016-01-01

    This study examined predation risk for juvenile native fish between two riverine shoreline habitats, backwater and debris fan, across three discrete turbidity levels (low, intermediate, high) to understand environmental risks associated with habitat use in a section of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, AZ. Inferences are particularly important to juvenile native fish, including the federally endangered humpback chub Gila cypha. This species uses a variety of habitats including backwaters which are often considered important rearing areas. Densities of two likely predators, adult rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss and adult humpback chub, were estimated between habitats using binomial mixture models to examine whether higher predator density was associated with patterns of predation risk. Tethering experiments were used to quantify relative predation risk between habitats and turbidity conditions. Under low and intermediate turbidity conditions, debris fan habitat showed higher relative predation risk compared to backwaters. In both habitats the highest predation risk was observed during intermediate turbidity conditions. Density of likely predators did not significantly differ between these habitats. This information can help managers in Grand Canyon weigh flow policy options designed to increase backwater availability or extant turbidity conditions.

  7. Linking Predation Risk, Herbivore Physiological Stress and Microbial Decomposition of Plant Litter

    PubMed Central

    Schmitz, Oswald J.; Bradford, Mark A.; Strickland, Michael S.; Hawlena, Dror

    2013-01-01

    The quantity and quality of detritus entering the soil determines the rate of decomposition by microbial communities as well as recycle rates of nitrogen (N) and carbon (C) sequestration1,2. Plant litter comprises the majority of detritus3, and so it is assumed that decomposition is only marginally influenced by biomass inputs from animals such as herbivores and carnivores4,5. However, carnivores may influence microbial decomposition of plant litter via a chain of interactions in which predation risk alters the physiology of their herbivore prey that in turn alters soil microbial functioning when the herbivore carcasses are decomposed6. A physiological stress response by herbivores to the risk of predation can change the C:N elemental composition of herbivore biomass7,8,9 because stress from predation risk increases herbivore basal energy demands that in nutrient-limited systems forces herbivores to shift their consumption from N-rich resources to support growth and reproduction to C-rich carbohydrate resources to support heightened metabolism6. Herbivores have limited ability to store excess nutrients, so stressed herbivores excrete N as they increase carbohydrate-C consumption7. Ultimately, prey stressed by predation risk increase their body C:N ratio7,10, making them poorer quality resources for the soil microbial pool likely due to lower availability of labile N for microbial enzyme production6. Thus, decomposition of carcasses of stressed herbivores has a priming effect on the functioning of microbial communities that decreases subsequent ability to of microbes to decompose plant litter6,10,11. We present the methodology to evaluate linkages between predation risk and litter decomposition by soil microbes. We describe how to: induce stress in herbivores from predation risk; measure those stress responses, and measure the consequences on microbial decomposition. We use insights from a model grassland ecosystem comprising the hunting spider predator (Pisuarina

  8. Risk-taking behaviour may explain high predation mortality of GH-transgenic common carp Cyprinus carpio.

    PubMed

    Duan, M; Zhang, T; Hu, W; Xie, S; Sundström, L F; Li, Z; Zhu, Z

    2013-11-01

    The competitive ability and habitat selection of juvenile all-fish GH-transgenic common carp Cyprinus carpio and their size-matched non-transgenic conspecifics, in the absence and presence of predation risk, under different food distributions, were compared. Unequal-competitor ideal-free-distribution analysis showed that a larger proportion of transgenic C. carpio fed within the system, although they were not overrepresented at a higher-quantity food source. Moreover, the analysis showed that transgenic C. carpio maintained a faster growth rate, and were more willing to risk exposure to a predator when foraging, thereby supporting the hypothesis that predation selects against maximal growth rates by removing individuals that display increased foraging effort. Without compensatory behaviours that could mitigate the effects of predation risk, the escaped or released transgenic C. carpio with high-gain and high-risk performance would grow well but probably suffer high predation mortality in nature. PMID:24580661

  9. Linking habitat selection and predation risk to spatial variation in survival

    PubMed Central

    DeCesare, Nicholas J; Hebblewhite, Mark; Bradley, Mark; Hervieux, David; Neufeld, Lalenia; Musiani, Marco; Mysterud, Atle

    2014-01-01

    1. A central assumption underlying the study of habitat selection is that selected habitats confer enhanced fitness. Unfortunately, this assumption is rarely tested, and in some systems, gradients of predation risk may more accurately characterize spatial variation in vital rates than gradients described by habitat selection studies. 2. Here, we separately measured spatial patterns of both resource selection and predation risk and tested their relationships with a key demographic trait, adult female survival, for a threatened ungulate, woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou Gmelin). We also evaluated whether exposure to gradients in both predation risk and resource selection value was manifested temporally through instantaneous or seasonal effects on survival outcomes. 3. We used Cox proportional hazards spatial survival modelling to assess the relative support for 5 selection- and risk-based definitions of habitat quality, as quantified by woodland caribou adult female survival. These hypotheses included scenarios in which selection ideally mirrored survival, risk entirely drove survival, non-ideal selection correlated with survival but with additive risk effects, an ecological trap with maladaptive selection and a non-spatial effect of annual variation in weather. 4. Indeed, we found positive relationships between the predicted values of a resource selection function (RSF) and survival, yet subsequently incorporating an additional negative effect of predation risk greatly improved models further. This revealed a positive, but non-ideal relationship between selection and survival. Gradients in these covariates were also shown to affect individual survival probability at multiple temporal scales. Exposure to increased predation risk had a relatively instantaneous effect on survival outcomes, whereas variation in habitat suitability predicted by an RSF had both instantaneous and longer-term seasonal effects on survival. 5. Predation risk was an additive source

  10. Risk of damage to tomato crops by the generalist zoophytophagous predator Nesidiocoris tenuis (Reuter) (Hemiptera: Miridae).

    PubMed

    Arnó, J; Castañé, C; Riudavets, J; Gabarra, R

    2010-02-01

    Nesidiocoris tenuis (Reuter) (Hem. Miridae) is a native zoophytophagous predator of the Mediterranean region, and its populations colonize tomato crops when they are not heavily treated with insecticides. This generalist predator has a high capacity for controlling insect pests, and it is currently commercially produced and released in some areas to control Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hem. Aleyrodidae). However, its status as a pest and/or as beneficial is controversial. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the risk of damage to tomatoes in extreme conditions of prey scarcity, as well as high predator populations. Three predator densities were tested in a greenhouse cage experiment during a summer tomato crop. The crop did not display any negative effect caused by the predators during the first six weeks of interaction, independently of the density released. However, subsequently, the effect was dramatic, both on the vegetative growth of the plant and on the production of fruits. The reduction in vegetative growth was located at truss eight and it was expressed mainly by a lower number of leaves and a shorter length of the shoot above the truss. There was a significant reduction of yield with a lower number of fruits collected and a smaller mean weight, although this was not observable until truss seven. It seems that feeding on the plant by this mirid bug competed with the vegetative growth and fruiting processes of the plant in the extreme conditions of prey shortage maintained in our experiment. PMID:19366476

  11. Prey state shapes the effects of temporal variation in predation risk.

    PubMed

    Matassa, Catherine M; Trussell, Geoffrey C

    2014-12-01

    The ecological impacts of predation risk are influenced by how prey allocate foraging effort across periods of safety and danger. Foraging decisions depend on current danger, but also on the larger temporal, spatial or energetic context in which prey manage their risks of predation and starvation. Using a rocky intertidal food chain, we examined the responses of starved and fed prey (Nucella lapillus dogwhelks) to different temporal patterns of risk from predatory crabs (Carcinus maenas). Prey foraging activity declined during periods of danger, but as dangerous periods became longer, prey state altered the magnitude of risk effects on prey foraging and growth, with likely consequences for community structure (trait-mediated indirect effects on basal resources, Mytilus edulis mussels), prey fitness and trophic energy transfer. Because risk is inherently variable over time and space, our results suggest that non-consumptive predator effects may be most pronounced in productive systems where prey can build energy reserves during periods of safety and then burn these reserves as 'trophic heat' during extended periods of danger. Understanding the interaction between behavioural (energy gain) and physiological (energy use) responses to risk may illuminate the context dependency of trait-mediated trophic cascades and help explain variation in food chain length. PMID:25339716

  12. Prey state shapes the effects of temporal variation in predation risk

    PubMed Central

    Matassa, Catherine M.; Trussell, Geoffrey C.

    2014-01-01

    The ecological impacts of predation risk are influenced by how prey allocate foraging effort across periods of safety and danger. Foraging decisions depend on current danger, but also on the larger temporal, spatial or energetic context in which prey manage their risks of predation and starvation. Using a rocky intertidal food chain, we examined the responses of starved and fed prey (Nucella lapillus dogwhelks) to different temporal patterns of risk from predatory crabs (Carcinus maenas). Prey foraging activity declined during periods of danger, but as dangerous periods became longer, prey state altered the magnitude of risk effects on prey foraging and growth, with likely consequences for community structure (trait-mediated indirect effects on basal resources, Mytilus edulis mussels), prey fitness and trophic energy transfer. Because risk is inherently variable over time and space, our results suggest that non-consumptive predator effects may be most pronounced in productive systems where prey can build energy reserves during periods of safety and then burn these reserves as ‘trophic heat’ during extended periods of danger. Understanding the interaction between behavioural (energy gain) and physiological (energy use) responses to risk may illuminate the context dependency of trait-mediated trophic cascades and help explain variation in food chain length. PMID:25339716

  13. Context-dependent planktivory: interacting effects of turbidity and predation risk on adaptive foraging

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pangle, Kevin L.; Malinich, Timothy D.; Bunnell, David B.; DeVries, Dennis R.; Ludsin, Stuart A.

    2012-01-01

    By shaping species interactions, adaptive phenotypic plasticity can profoundly influence ecosystems. Predicting such outcomes has proven difficult, however, owing in part to the dependence of plasticity on the environmental context. Of particular relevance are environmental factors that affect sensory performance in organisms in ways that alter the tradeoffs associated with adaptive phenotypic responses. We explored the influence of turbidity, which simultaneously and differentially affects the sensory performance of consumers at multiple trophic levels, on the indirect effect of a top predator (piscivorous fish) on a basal prey resource (zooplankton) that is mediated through changes in the plastic foraging behavior of an intermediate consumer (zooplanktivorous fish). We first generated theoretical predictions of the adaptive foraging response of a zooplanktivore across wide gradients of turbidity and predation risk by a piscivore. Our model predicted that predation risk can change the negative relationship between intermediate consumer foraging and turbidity into a humped-shaped (unimodal) one in which foraging is low in both clear and highly turbid conditions due to foraging-related risk and visual constraints, respectively. Consequently, the positive trait-mediated indirect effect (TMIE) of the top predator on the basal resource is predicted to peak at low turbidity and decline thereafter until it reaches an asymptote of zero at intermediate turbidity levels (when foraging equals that which is predicted when the top predator is absent). We used field observations and a laboratory experiment to test our model predictions. In support, we found humped-shaped relationships between planktivory and turbidity for several zooplanktivorous fishes from diverse freshwater ecosystems with predation risk. Further, our experiment demonstrated that predation risk reduced zooplanktivory by yellow perch (Perca flavescens) at a low turbidity, but had no effect on consumption at

  14. Spatial ecology of refuge selection by an herbivore under risk of predation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilson, Tammy L.; Rayburn, Andrew P.; Edwards, Thomas C., Jr.

    2012-01-01

    Prey species use structures such as burrows to minimize predation risk. The spatial arrangement of these resources can have important implications for individual and population fitness. For example, there is evidence that clustered resources can benefit individuals by reducing predation risk and increasing foraging opportunity concurrently, which leads to higher population density. However, the scale of clustering that is important in these processes has been ignored during theoretical and empirical development of resource models. Ecological understanding of refuge exploitation by prey can be improved by spatial analysis of refuge use and availability that incorporates the effect of scale. We measured the spatial distribution of pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis) refugia (burrows) through censuses in four 6-ha sites. Point pattern analyses were used to evaluate burrow selection by comparing the spatial distribution of used and available burrows. The presence of food resources and additional overstory cover resources was further examined using logistic regression. Burrows were spatially clustered at scales up to approximately 25 m, and then regularly spaced at distances beyond ~40 m. Pygmy rabbit exploitation of burrows did not match availability. Burrows used by pygmy rabbits were likely to be located in areas with high overall burrow density (resource clusters) and high overstory cover, which together minimized predation risk. However, in some cases we observed an interaction between either overstory cover (safety) or understory cover (forage) and burrow density. The interactions show that pygmy rabbits will use burrows in areas with low relative burrow density (high relative predation risk) if understory food resources are high. This points to a potential trade-off whereby rabbits must sacrifice some safety afforded by additional nearby burrows to obtain ample forage resources. Observed patterns of clustered burrows and non-random burrow use improve

  15. Along came a spider who sat down beside her: Perceived predation risk, but not female age, affects female mate choosiness.

    PubMed

    Atwell, Ashley; Wagner, William E

    2015-06-01

    Organisms often exhibit behavioral plasticity in response to changes in factors, such as predation risk, mate density, and age. Particularly, female mate choosiness (the strength of female's attraction to male traits as they deviate from preferred trait values) has repeatedly been shown to be plastic. This is due to the costs associated with searching for preferred males fluctuating with changes in such factors. Because these factors can interact naturally, it is important to understand how female mate choosiness responds to these interactions. We studied the interaction between perceived predation risk and female age on the variable field cricket, Gryllus lineaticeps. Females were either exposed or not exposed to predation cues from a sympatric, cursorial, wolf spider predator, Hogna sp. We then tested the females at one of three adult ages and measured their choosiness by recording their responsiveness to a low quality male song. We found female choosiness plasticity was affected by neither age nor the interaction between age and perceived predation risk. Perceived predation risk was the only factor to significantly affect the plasticity of female mate choosiness: females were less choosy when they perceived predation risk and were more choosy when they did not. Predation may be such a strong source of selection that, regardless of differences in other factors, most individuals respond similarly. PMID:25857998

  16. Short- and long-term behavioural, physiological and stoichiometric responses to predation risk indicate chronic stress and compensatory mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Van Dievel, Marie; Janssens, Lizanne; Stoks, Robby

    2016-06-01

    Prey organisms are expected to use different short- and long-term responses to predation risk to avoid excessive costs. Contrasting both types of responses is important to identify chronic stress responses and possible compensatory mechanisms in order to better understand the full impact of predators on prey life history and population dynamics. Using larvae of the damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum, we contrasted the effects of short- and long-term predation risk, with special focus on consequences for body stoichiometry. Under short-term predation risk, larvae reduced growth rate, which was associated with a reduced food intake, increased metabolic rate and reduced glucose content. Under long-term predation risk, larvae showed chronic predator stress as indicated by persistent increases in metabolic rate and reduced food intake. Despite this, larvae were able to compensate for the short-term growth reduction under long-term predation risk by relying on physiological compensatory mechanisms, including reduced energy storage. Only under long-term predation risk did we observe an increase in body C:N ratio, as predicted under the general stress paradigm (GSP). Although this was caused by a predator-induced decrease in N content, there was no associated increase in C content. These stoichiometric changes could not be explained by GSP responses because, under chronic predation risk, there was no decrease in N-rich proteins or increase in C-rich fat and sugars; instead glycogen decreased. Our results highlight the importance of compensatory mechanisms and the value of explicitly integrating physiological mechanisms to obtain insights into the temporal dynamics of non-consumptive effects, including effects on body stoichiometry. PMID:26385695

  17. Plastic proteans: reduced predictability in the face of predation risk in hermit crabs

    PubMed Central

    Briffa, Mark

    2013-01-01

    Variation in behaviour occurs at multiple levels, including between individuals (personality) and between situations (plasticity). Behaviour also varies within individuals, and intra-individual variation (IIV) in behaviour describes within-individual residual variance in behaviour that remains after the effects of obvious external and internal influences on behaviour have been accounted for. IIV thus describes how predictable an individual's behaviour is. Differences in predictability, between individuals and between situations, might be biologically significant. For example, behaving unpredictably under predation threat might reduce the chance of capture. Here, we investigated the duration of startle responses in hermit crabs, in the presence and absence of a predator cue. Individuals differed in startle response duration (personality) and while individuals also varied in their sensitivity to risk, mean response time was greater in the presence of a predator (plasticity). Moreover, IIV was greater in the presence of a predator, providing some of the first evidence that the facultative injection of unpredictability into behaviour might represent a strategy for dealing with risk. PMID:23985348

  18. Testing the risk of predation hypothesis: the influence of recolonizing wolves on habitat use by moose.

    PubMed

    Nicholson, Kerry L; Milleret, Cyril; Månsson, Johan; Sand, Håkan

    2014-09-01

    Considered as absent throughout Scandinavia for >100 years, wolves (Canis lupus) have recently naturally recolonized south-central Sweden. This recolonization has provided an opportunity to study behavioral responses of moose (Alces alces) to wolves. We used satellite telemetry locations from collared moose and wolves to determine whether moose habitat use was affected by predation risk based on wolf use distributions. Moose habitat use was influenced by reproductive status and time of day and showed a different selection pattern between winter and summer, but there was weak evidence that moose habitat use depended on predation risk. The seemingly weak response may have several underlying explanations that are not mutually exclusive from the long term absence of non-human predation pressure: intensive harvest by humans during the last century is more important than wolf predation as an influence on moose behavior; moose have not adapted to recolonizing wolves; and responses may include other behavioral adaptations or occur at finer temporal and spatial levels than investigated. PMID:25015119

  19. Relaxation of risk-sensitive behaviour of prey following disease-induced decline of an apex predator, the Tasmanian devil.

    PubMed

    Hollings, Tracey; McCallum, Hamish; Kreger, Kaely; Mooney, Nick; Jones, Menna

    2015-07-01

    Apex predators structure ecosystems through lethal and non-lethal interactions with prey, and their global decline is causing loss of ecological function. Behavioural changes of prey are some of the most rapid responses to predator decline and may act as an early indicator of cascading effects. The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), an apex predator, is undergoing progressive and extensive population decline, of more than 90% in long-diseased areas, caused by a novel disease. Time since local disease outbreak correlates with devil population declines and thus predation risk. We used hair traps and giving-up densities (GUDs) in food patches to test whether a major prey species of devils, the arboreal common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), is responsive to the changing risk of predation when they forage on the ground. Possums spend more time on the ground, discover food patches faster and forage more to a lower GUD with increasing years since disease outbreak and greater devil population decline. Loss of top-down effects of devils with respect to predation risk was evident at 90% devil population decline, with possum behaviour indistinguishable from a devil-free island. Alternative predators may help to maintain risk-sensitive anti-predator behaviours in possums while devil populations remain low. PMID:26085584

  20. Relaxation of risk-sensitive behaviour of prey following disease-induced decline of an apex predator, the Tasmanian devil

    PubMed Central

    Hollings, Tracey; McCallum, Hamish; Kreger, Kaely; Mooney, Nick; Jones, Menna

    2015-01-01

    Apex predators structure ecosystems through lethal and non-lethal interactions with prey, and their global decline is causing loss of ecological function. Behavioural changes of prey are some of the most rapid responses to predator decline and may act as an early indicator of cascading effects. The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), an apex predator, is undergoing progressive and extensive population decline, of more than 90% in long-diseased areas, caused by a novel disease. Time since local disease outbreak correlates with devil population declines and thus predation risk. We used hair traps and giving-up densities (GUDs) in food patches to test whether a major prey species of devils, the arboreal common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), is responsive to the changing risk of predation when they forage on the ground. Possums spend more time on the ground, discover food patches faster and forage more to a lower GUD with increasing years since disease outbreak and greater devil population decline. Loss of top–down effects of devils with respect to predation risk was evident at 90% devil population decline, with possum behaviour indistinguishable from a devil-free island. Alternative predators may help to maintain risk-sensitive anti-predator behaviours in possums while devil populations remain low. PMID:26085584

  1. Avian top predator and the landscape of fear: responses of mammalian mesopredators to risk imposed by the golden eagle

    PubMed Central

    Lyly, Mari S; Villers, Alexandre; Koivisto, Elina; Helle, Pekka; Ollila, Tuomo; Korpimäki, Erkki

    2015-01-01

    Top predators may induce extensive cascading effects on lower trophic levels, for example, through intraguild predation (IGP). The impacts of both mammalian and avian top predators on species of the same class have been extensively studied, but the effects of the latter upon mammalian mesopredators are not yet as well known. We examined the impact of the predation risk imposed by a large avian predator, the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos, L.), on its potential mammalian mesopredator prey, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes, L.), and the pine marten (Martes martes, L.). The study combined 23 years of countrywide data from nesting records of eagles and wildlife track counts of mesopredators in Finland, northern Europe. The predation risk of the golden eagle was modeled as a function of territory density, density of fledglings produced, and distance to nearest active eagle territory, with the expectation that a high predation risk would reduce the abundances of smaller sized pine martens in particular. Red foxes appeared not to suffer from eagle predation, being in fact most numerous close to eagle nests and in areas with more eagle territories. This is likely due to similar prey preferences of the two predators and the larger size of foxes enabling them to escape eagle predation risk. Somewhat contrary to our prediction, the abundance of pine martens increased from low to intermediate territory density and at close proximity to eagle nests, possibly because of similar habitat preferences of martens and eagles. We found a slightly decreasing trend of marten abundance at high territory density, which could indicate that the response in marten populations is dependent on eagle density. However, more research is needed to better establish whether mesopredators are intimidated or predated by golden eagles, and whether such effects could in turn cascade to lower trophic levels, benefitting herbivorous species. PMID:25691975

  2. Does moonlight increase predation risk? Meta-analysis reveals divergent responses of nocturnal mammals to lunar cycles.

    PubMed

    Prugh, Laura R; Golden, Christopher D

    2014-03-01

    The risk of predation strongly affects mammalian population dynamics and community interactions. Bright moonlight is widely believed to increase predation risk for nocturnal mammals by increasing the ability of predators to detect prey, but the potential for moonlight to increase detection of predators and the foraging efficiency of prey has largely been ignored. Studies have reported highly variable responses to moonlight among species, calling into question the assumption that moonlight increases risk. Here, we conducted a quantitative meta-analysis examining the effects of moonlight on the activity of 59 nocturnal mammal species to test the assumption that moonlight increases predation risk. We examined patterns of lunarphilia and lunarphobia across species in relation to factors such as trophic level, habitat cover preference and visual acuity. Across all species included in the meta-analysis, moonlight suppressed activity. The magnitude of suppression was similar to the presence of a predator in experimental studies of foraging rodents (13.6% and 18.7% suppression, respectively). Contrary to the expectation that moonlight increases predation risk for all prey species, however, moonlight effects were not clearly related to trophic level and were better explained by phylogenetic relatedness, visual acuity and habitat cover. Moonlight increased the activity of prey species that use vision as their primary sensory system and suppressed the activity of species that primarily use other senses (e.g. olfaction, echolocation), and suppression was strongest in open habitat types. Strong taxonomic patterns underlay these relationships: moonlight tended to increase primate activity, whereas it tended to suppress the activity of rodents, lagomorphs, bats and carnivores. These results indicate that visual acuity and habitat cover jointly moderate the effect of moonlight on predation risk, whereas trophic position has little effect. While the net effect of moonlight appears

  3. Conspecific density modulates the effect of predation on dispersal rates.

    PubMed

    Hammill, Edd; Fitzjohn, Richard G; Srivastava, Diane S

    2015-08-01

    Dispersal decisions underlie the spatial dynamics of metacommunities. Prey individuals may disperse to reduce the risk of either predation or starvation, and both of these risks may depend on conspecific density. Surprisingly, there is little theory examining how dispersal rates should change in response to the combined effects of predation and changes in conspecific density. We develop such a model and show that, under certain conditions, predators may induce dispersal at low prey densities but not high prey densities. We then experimentally manipulate the density of the ciliate Paramecium aurelia and the perceived presence of its predator, the flatworm Stenostomum virginiamum, in a two-patch metacommunity to parameterise the model. Paramecium dispersed in response to Stenostomum at low densities, but they reduced their dispersal in response to predation risk at high predator densities. By applying our model to the empirical data, we show that this switch in dispersal strategy, linked to increases in prey density, occurred because predators increased the difficulty or risk of dispersal. Together, the model and experiment reveal that the effects of predators on dispersal are contingent on prey density. Previous studies have sometimes reported an increase in dispersal rate when predation risk is elevated, and other times a decrease in dispersal rate. Our demonstration of a switch point, with predation risk increasing dispersal at low prey densities but reducing dispersal above a threshold of prey density, may reconcile the diversity of prey dispersal behaviours reported in these previous investigations and observed in nature. PMID:25820788

  4. Integrating the costs of plant toxins and predation risk in foraging decisions of a mammalian herbivore.

    PubMed

    Kirmani, Sahar N; Banks, Peter B; McArthur, Clare

    2010-10-01

    Foraging herbivores must satisfy their nutrient requirements in a world of toxic plants while also avoiding predators. Plant toxins and perceived predation risk at food patches should both reduce patch residency time, but the relative strengths of these factors on feeding decisions has rarely been quantified. Using an arboreal generalist herbivore, the common brushtail possum Trichosurus vulpecula, we tested the effects on food intake of the plant toxin, cineole, and regurgitated pellets from one of its predators, the powerful owl Ninox strenua at the small spatial scale of the food patch. We used the giving-up density (GUD) framework, with animals harvesting food items (sultanas) in an inedible matrix (small pebbles). We ran two consecutive field experiments in a eucalypt woodland in eastern Australia, 1 month apart in the same location. In experiment 1, there was a significant interaction between cineole [at 17% of dry matter (DM)] and owl pellets. The GUD was lowest in the absence of both cineole and owl pellet, intermediate in the presence of owl pellet; and highest with cineole ± owl pellet. The effect of owl pellet diminished over time. In experiment 2, only cineole (at 10% DM) increased the GUD significantly. The difference in effect of owl pellet was probably due to both habituation and freshness of the cue. Our study demonstrates the importance of synthesising predator-prey and plant-herbivore ecology to better understand the complex set of constraints influencing foraging herbivores. The greater effect of toxin than fear on possums is likely to be due to its high, but ecologically relevant concentration. This highlights the need to explore the relative and net impacts of a range of concentrations of plant toxins and predation risks. PMID:20652597

  5. Daphnia predation on the amphibian chytrid fungus and its impacts on disease risk in tadpoles.

    PubMed

    Searle, Catherine L; Mendelson, Joseph R; Green, Linda E; Duffy, Meghan A

    2013-10-01

    Direct predation upon parasites has the potential to reduce infection in host populations. For example, the fungal parasite of amphibians, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is commonly transmitted through a free-swimming zoospore stage that may be vulnerable to predation. Potential predators of Bd include freshwater zooplankton that graze on organisms in the water column. We tested the ability of two species of freshwater crustacean (Daphnia magna and D. dentifera) to consume Bd and to reduce Bd density in water and infection in tadpoles. In a series of laboratory experiments, we allowed Daphnia to graze in water containing Bd while manipulating Daphnia densities, Daphnia species identity, grazing periods and concentrations of suspended algae (Ankistrodesmus falcatus). We then exposed tadpoles to the grazed water. We found that high densities of D. magna reduced the amount of Bd detected in water, leading to a reduction in the proportion of tadpoles that became infected. Daphnia dentifera, a smaller species of Daphnia, also reduced Bd in water samples, but did not have an effect on tadpole infection. We also found that algae affected Bd in complex ways. When Daphnia were absent, less Bd was detected in water and tadpole samples when concentrations of algae were higher, indicating a direct negative effect of algae on Bd. When Daphnia were present, however, the amount of Bd detected in water samples showed the opposite trend, with less Bd when densities of algae were lower. Our results indicate that Daphnia can reduce Bd levels in water and infection in tadpoles, but these effects vary with species, algal concentration, and Daphnia density. Therefore, the ability of predators to consume parasites and reduce infection is likely to vary depending on ecological context. PMID:24324864

  6. Daphnia predation on the amphibian chytrid fungus and its impacts on disease risk in tadpoles

    PubMed Central

    Searle, Catherine L; Mendelson, Joseph R; Green, Linda E; Duffy, Meghan A

    2013-01-01

    Direct predation upon parasites has the potential to reduce infection in host populations. For example, the fungal parasite of amphibians, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is commonly transmitted through a free-swimming zoospore stage that may be vulnerable to predation. Potential predators of Bd include freshwater zooplankton that graze on organisms in the water column. We tested the ability of two species of freshwater crustacean (Daphnia magna and D. dentifera) to consume Bd and to reduce Bd density in water and infection in tadpoles. In a series of laboratory experiments, we allowed Daphnia to graze in water containing Bd while manipulating Daphnia densities, Daphnia species identity, grazing periods and concentrations of suspended algae (Ankistrodesmus falcatus). We then exposed tadpoles to the grazed water. We found that high densities of D. magna reduced the amount of Bd detected in water, leading to a reduction in the proportion of tadpoles that became infected. Daphnia dentifera, a smaller species of Daphnia, also reduced Bd in water samples, but did not have an effect on tadpole infection. We also found that algae affected Bd in complex ways. When Daphnia were absent, less Bd was detected in water and tadpole samples when concentrations of algae were higher, indicating a direct negative effect of algae on Bd. When Daphnia were present, however, the amount of Bd detected in water samples showed the opposite trend, with less Bd when densities of algae were lower. Our results indicate that Daphnia can reduce Bd levels in water and infection in tadpoles, but these effects vary with species, algal concentration, and Daphnia density. Therefore, the ability of predators to consume parasites and reduce infection is likely to vary depending on ecological context. PMID:24324864

  7. Are the mediterraneantop predators exposed to toxicological risk due to endocrine disrupters?

    PubMed

    Fossi, M C; Casini, S; Marsili, L; Ausili, A; di Sciara, G N

    2001-12-01

    Man-made endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) range across all continents and oceans; some geographic areas are potentially more threatened than others: one of these is the Mediterranean Sea. This basin has limited exchange of water with the Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by some of the most heavily populated and industrialized countries in the world. Accordingly, levels of some xenobiotics are much higher here than in other seas and oceans. In this research the unexplored hypothesis that Mediterranean top predator species (such as large pelagic fish and marine mammals) are potentially at risk due to EDCs is investigated. Here we illustrate the development of sensitive biomarkers (Vitellogenin, Zona Radiata proteins) for evaluation of toxicological risk in top marine predators (Xiphias gladius, Thunnus thynnus thynnus), and nonlethal techniques, such as nondestructive biomarkers (BPMO activities in skin biopsy), for the hazard assessment of threatened species exposed to EDCs, such as marine mammals (Stenella coeruleoalba, Tursiops truncatus, Delphinus delphis, and Balaenoptera physalus). PMID:11795396

  8. Corridors and olfactory predator cues affect small mammal behavior.

    SciTech Connect

    Brinkerhoff, Robert Jory; Haddad, Nick M.; Orrock, John L.

    2005-03-30

    Abstract The behavior of prey individuals is influenced by a variety of factors including, but not limited to, habitat configuration, risk of predation, and availability of resources, and these habitat-dependent factors may have interactive effects. We studied the responses of mice to an increase in perceived predation risk in a patchy environment to understand how habitat corridors might affect interactions among species in a fragmented landscape. We used a replicated experiment to investigate corridor-mediated prey responses to predator cues in a network of open habitat patches surrounded by a matrix of planted pine forest. Some of the patches were connected by corridors. We used mark–recapture techniques and foraging trays to monitor the movement, behavior, and abundance of small mammals. Predation threat was manipulated in one-half of the replicates by applying an olfactory predator cue. Corridors synchronized small mammal foraging activity among connected patches. Foraging also was inhibited in the presence of an olfactory predator cue but apparently increased in adjacent connected patches. Small mammal abundance did not change as a result of the predator manipulation and was not influenced by the presence of corridors. This study is among the 1st to indicate combined effects of landscape configuration and predation risk on prey behavior. These changes in prey behavior may, in turn, have cascading effects on community dynamics where corridors and differential predation risk influence movement and patch use.

  9. Habitat-mediated variation in predation risk by the American marten.

    PubMed

    Andruskiw, Mark; Fryxell, John M; Thompson, Ian D; Baker, James A

    2008-08-01

    The probability of prey encounter, attack, capture, and kill are often hypothesized to depend on habitat structure, but field evidence in terrestrial systems is rare. We tested whether predation efficiency by the American marten (Martes americana) and fear of predation by their primary prey, the red-backed vole (Clethrionomys gapperi), differed between 20- to 50-year-old regenerating forest stands and older uncut stands. Our results showed that the frequency of prey encounter, prey attack, and prey kill were higher in old uncut forests, despite the fact that small-mammal density was similar to that in younger logged forests. These differences in predation efficiency were linked to higher abundance of coarse woody debris, which seems to offer sensory cues to martens, thereby increasing the odds of hunting success. Red-backed voles in regenerating forest stands exhibited increased wariness compared to voles living in old uncut forest, suggestive of a behavioral response to habitat-mediated variation in predation risk. PMID:18724737

  10. Crickets with extravagant mating songs compensate for predation risk with extra caution.

    PubMed Central

    Hedrick, A V

    2000-01-01

    Modern models for the evolution of conspicuous male mating displays assume that males with conspicuous displays must bear the cost of enhanced predation risk. However, if males can compensate behaviourally for their increased conspicuousness by acting more cautiously towards predators, they may be able to lower this cost. In the field cricket Gryllus integer, males call to attract females, and differ in their durations of uninterrupted trilling (calling-bout lengths). Differences among males in calling-bout lengths are heritable, and females prefer males with longer calling bouts. In this study, males with longer, more conspicuous songs behaved more cautiously than males with shorter songs on two different tests of predator avoidance. They took longer to emerge from a safe shelter within a novel, potentially dangerous environment, and they ceased calling for a longer time when their calls were interrupted by a predator cue. Thus, these males appear to compensate behaviourally for their more conspicuous mating displays. Additionally, latencies to emerge from a shelter in the novel environment were consistent over time for both individual males from the field and males that had been reared in the laboratory, indicating that the differences in latency among males may be heritable. PMID:10821611

  11. Personality predicts individual responsiveness to the risks of starvation and predation.

    PubMed

    Quinn, J L; Cole, E F; Bates, J; Payne, R W; Cresswell, W

    2012-05-22

    Theory suggests that individual personality is tightly linked to individual life histories and to environmental variation. The reactive-proactive axis, for example, is thought to reflect whether individuals prioritize productivity or survival, mutually exclusive options that can be caused by conflicts between foraging and anti-predation behaviour. Evidence for this trade-off hypothesis, however, is limited. Here, we tested experimentally whether exploration behaviour (EB), an assay of proactivity, could explain how great tits (Parus major) respond to changes in starvation and predation risk. Individuals were presented with two feeders, holding good or poor quality food, which interchanged between safe and dangerous positions 10 m apart, across two 24 h treatments. Starvation risk was assumed to be highest in the morning and lowest in the afternoon. The proportion of time spent feeding on good quality food (PTG) rather than poor quality food was repeatable within treatments, but individuals varied in how PTG changed with respect to predation- and starvation-risk across treatments. This individual plasticity variation in foraging behaviour was linked to EB, as predicted by the reactive-proactive axis, but only among individuals in dominant social classes. Our results support the trade-off hypothesis at the level of individuals in a wild population, and suggest that fine-scale temporal and spatial variation may play important roles in the evolution of personality. PMID:22179807

  12. Dispersal depends on body condition and predation risk in the semi-aquatic insect, Notonecta undulata

    PubMed Central

    Baines, Celina B; McCauley, Shannon J; Rowe, Locke

    2015-01-01

    Dispersal is the movement of organisms across space, which has important implications for ecological and evolutionary processes, including community composition and gene flow. Previous studies have demonstrated that dispersal is influenced by body condition; however, few studies have been able to separate the effects of body condition from correlated variables such as body size. Moreover, the results of these studies have been inconsistent with respect to the direction of the relationship between condition and dispersal. We examined whether body condition influences dispersal in backswimmers (Notonecta undulata). We also tested whether an interaction between body condition and predation risk (another proximate factor that influences dispersal) could contribute to the previously observed inconsistent relationship between condition and dispersal. We imposed diet treatments on backswimmers in the laboratory, and measured the effects of food availability on body condition and dispersal in the field. We found that dispersal was a positive function of body condition, which may have important consequences for population characteristics such as the rate of gene flow and population growth. However, the effects of body condition and predation risk were additive, not interactive, and therefore, our data do not support the hypothesis that the interaction between condition and predation risk contributes to the inconsistency in the results of previous condition-dependent dispersal studies. PMID:26120421

  13. Predation risk and longevity influence variation in fitness of female roe deer (Capreolus capreolus L.).

    PubMed Central

    Kjellander, Petter; Gaillard, Jean-Michel; Hewison, Mark; Liberg, Olof

    2004-01-01

    We studied the effects of population density, red fox predation risk, individual body mass and longevity on female fitness in a free-ranging roe deer population. During the study, population density varied from 9.3 to 36.1 deer km(-2), and red fox abundance varied strongly over years owing to a sarcoptic mange outbreak. In support of our predictions, long-lived females had higher fitness than short-lived ones. Further, fortunate female roe deer that gave birth in years of low red fox abundance attained much higher fitness than those that gave birth in years of high red fox abundance. Longevity and predation risk explained more than half the variation in fitness observed among roe deer females. As a possible effect of small sample size, we found no effect of female body mass or population density at birth. Our study demonstrates that predation risk, a component of environmental stochasticity, may prevent directional selection even when phenotypic quality influences individual fitness. PMID:15504011

  14. Maternal Experience with Predation Risk Influences Genome-Wide Embryonic Gene Expression in Threespined Sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus)

    PubMed Central

    Mommer, Brett C.; Bell, Alison M.

    2014-01-01

    There is growing evidence for nongenetic effects of maternal experience on offspring. For example, previous studies have shown that female threespined stickleback fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus) exposed to predation risk produce offspring with altered behavior, metabolism and stress physiology. Here, we investigate the effect of maternal exposure to predation risk on the embryonic transcriptome in sticklebacks. Using RNA-sequencing we compared genome-wide transcription in three day post-fertilization embryos of predator-exposed and control mothers. There were hundreds of differentially expressed transcripts between embryos of predator-exposed mothers and embryos of control mothers including several non-coding RNAs. Gene Ontology analysis revealed biological pathways involved in metabolism, epigenetic inheritance, and neural proliferation and differentiation that differed between treatments. Interestingly, predation risk is associated with an accelerated life history in many vertebrates, and several of the genes and biological pathways that were identified in this study suggest that maternal exposure to predation risk accelerates the timing of embryonic development. Consistent with this hypothesis, embryos of predator-exposed mothers were larger than embryos of control mothers. These findings point to some of the molecular mechanisms that might underlie maternal effects. PMID:24887438

  15. Impact of high predation risk on genome-wide hippocampal gene expression in snowshoe hares.

    PubMed

    Lavergne, Sophia G; McGowan, Patrick O; Krebs, Charles J; Boonstra, Rudy

    2014-11-01

    The population dynamics of snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) are fundamental to the ecosystem dynamics of Canada's boreal forest. During the 8- to 11-year population cycle, hare densities can fluctuate up to 40-fold. Predators in this system (lynx, coyotes, great-horned owls) affect population numbers not only through direct mortality but also through sublethal effects. The chronic stress hypothesis posits that high predation risk during the decline severely stresses hares, leading to greater stress responses, heightened ability to mobilize cortisol and energy, and a poorer body condition. These effects may result in, or be mediated by, differential gene expression. We used an oligonucleotide microarray designed for a closely-related species, the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), to characterize differences in genome-wide hippocampal RNA transcript abundance in wild hares from the Yukon during peak and decline phases of a single cycle. A total of 106 genes were differentially regulated between phases. Array results were validated with quantitative real-time PCR, and mammalian protein sequence similarity was used to infer gene function. In comparison to hares from the peak, decline phase hares showed increased expression of genes involved in metabolic processes and hormone response, and decreased expression of immune response and blood cell formation genes. We found evidence for predation risk effects on the expression of genes whose putative functions correspond with physiological impacts known to be induced by predation risk in snowshoe hares. This study shows, for the first time, a link between changes in demography and alterations in neural RNA transcript abundance in a natural population. PMID:25234370

  16. Microhabitat Selection by Marine Mesoconsumers in a Thermally Heterogeneous Habitat: Behavioral Thermoregulation or Avoiding Predation Risk?

    PubMed Central

    Vaudo, Jeremy J.; Heithaus, Michael R.

    2013-01-01

    Habitat selection decisions by consumers has the potential to shape ecosystems. Understanding the factors that influence habitat selection is therefore critical to understanding ecosystem function. This is especially true of mesoconsumers because they provide the link between upper and lower tropic levels. We examined the factors influencing microhabitat selection of marine mesoconsumers – juvenile giant shovelnose rays (Glaucostegus typus), reticulate whiprays (Himantura uarnak), and pink whiprays (H. fai) – in a coastal ecosystem with intact predator and prey populations and marked spatial and temporal thermal heterogeneity. Using a combination of belt transects and data on water temperature, tidal height, prey abundance, predator abundance and ray behavior, we found that giant shovelnose rays and reticulate whiprays were most often found resting in nearshore microhabitats, especially at low tidal heights during the warm season. Microhabitat selection did not match predictions derived from distributions of prey. Although at a course scale, ray distributions appeared to match predictions of behavioral thermoregulation theory, fine-scale examination revealed a mismatch. The selection of the shallow nearshore microhabitat at low tidal heights during periods of high predator abundance (warm season) suggests that this microhabitat may serve as a refuge, although it may come with metabolic costs due to higher temperatures. The results of this study highlight the importance of predators in the habitat selection decisions of mesoconsumers and that within thermal gradients, factors, such as predation risk, must be considered in addition to behavioral thermoregulation to explain habitat selection decisions. Furthermore, increasing water temperatures predicted by climate change may result in complex trade-offs that might have important implications for ecosystem dynamics. PMID:23593501

  17. Microhabitat selection by marine mesoconsumers in a thermally heterogeneous habitat: behavioral thermoregulation or avoiding predation risk?

    PubMed

    Vaudo, Jeremy J; Heithaus, Michael R

    2013-01-01

    Habitat selection decisions by consumers has the potential to shape ecosystems. Understanding the factors that influence habitat selection is therefore critical to understanding ecosystem function. This is especially true of mesoconsumers because they provide the link between upper and lower tropic levels. We examined the factors influencing microhabitat selection of marine mesoconsumers - juvenile giant shovelnose rays (Glaucostegus typus), reticulate whiprays (Himantura uarnak), and pink whiprays (H. fai) - in a coastal ecosystem with intact predator and prey populations and marked spatial and temporal thermal heterogeneity. Using a combination of belt transects and data on water temperature, tidal height, prey abundance, predator abundance and ray behavior, we found that giant shovelnose rays and reticulate whiprays were most often found resting in nearshore microhabitats, especially at low tidal heights during the warm season. Microhabitat selection did not match predictions derived from distributions of prey. Although at a course scale, ray distributions appeared to match predictions of behavioral thermoregulation theory, fine-scale examination revealed a mismatch. The selection of the shallow nearshore microhabitat at low tidal heights during periods of high predator abundance (warm season) suggests that this microhabitat may serve as a refuge, although it may come with metabolic costs due to higher temperatures. The results of this study highlight the importance of predators in the habitat selection decisions of mesoconsumers and that within thermal gradients, factors, such as predation risk, must be considered in addition to behavioral thermoregulation to explain habitat selection decisions. Furthermore, increasing water temperatures predicted by climate change may result in complex trade-offs that might have important implications for ecosystem dynamics. PMID:23593501

  18. Predation Risk versus Pesticide Exposure: Consequences of Fear and Loathing in the Life of Stream Shredders

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pestana, J. T.; Baird, D. J.; Soares, A. M.

    2005-05-01

    Stream invertebrates are exposed to complex stressor regimes including both biotic and abiotic factors. Species living in streams in agricultural landscapes are often subjected to episodic or continuous exposures to low levels of agrochemicals, which may approach or exceed specific substance guidelines. Sublethal effects of pesticides may result in direct effects on organisms (e.g. reduced physiological performance), which may in turn contribute to indirect effects relating to survival (e.g. increased predation risk). Here, we investigate the possibility that predator-release kairomones can act additively with low-level pesticide exposure to reduce physiological performance and survival of stream invertebrates in previously unforeseen ways. Feeding, metabolic and behavioural responses of two shredder insects, the North American stonefly Pteronarcys comstockii and the European caddisfly Sericostoma vittatum were measured under exposure to the insecticide imidacloprid at different levels of indirect predation stress using predator-release kairomones from Brown Trout (Salmo trutta). Pteronarcys feeding was measured in terms of mass of naturally conditioned alder leaf discs consumed over a 6-day and 10 -day period in animals held in cages in stream mesocosms. Pteronarcys feeding was impaired at 1 ppb in the 6-day trial and at 0,5 ppb in the 10-day trial relatively to unexposed controls. Metabolic rate was measured in the lab in terms of oxygen consumption of Pteronarcys. Animals exposed to 0.5 and 1 ppb imidacloprid showed elevated respiratory rates compared to controls. Laboratory experiments with Sericostoma, currently in progress, are examining the separate and combined effects of imidacloprid and predator kairomone on similar endpoints. These preliminary results are discussed in relation to the development of the Mechanistic Unifying Stressor Effects (MUSE) model which can be used to predict combined ecological effects of multiple stressors at the population level.

  19. Intraguild predation reduces redundancy of predator species in multiple predator assemblage.

    PubMed

    Griffen, Blaine D; Byers, James E

    2006-07-01

    1. Interference between predator species frequently decreases predation rates, lowering the risk of predation for shared prey. However, such interference can also occur between conspecific predators. 2. Therefore, to understand the importance of predator biodiversity and the degree that predator species can be considered functionally interchangeable, we determined the degree of additivity and redundancy of predators in multiple- and single-species combinations. 3. We show that interference between two invasive species of predatory crabs, Carcinus maenas and Hemigrapsus sanguineus, reduced the risk of predation for shared amphipod prey, and had redundant per capita effects in most multiple- and single-species predator combinations. 4. However, when predator combinations with the potential for intraguild predation were examined, predator interference increased and predator redundancy decreased. 5. Our study indicates that trophic structure is important in determining how the effects of predator species combine and demonstrates the utility of determining the redundancy, as well as the additivity, of multiple predator species. PMID:17009759

  20. Investment into defensive traits by anuran prey (Lithobates pipiens) is mediated by the starvation-predation risk trade-off.

    PubMed

    Bennett, Amanda M; Pereira, David; Murray, Dennis L

    2013-01-01

    Prey can invest in a variety of defensive traits when balancing risk of predation against that of starvation. What remains unknown is the relative costs of different defensive traits and how prey reconcile investment into these traits when energetically limited. We tested the simple allocation model of prey defense, which predicts an additive effect of increasing predation risk and resource availability, resulting in the full deployment of defensive traits under conditions of high risk and resource saturation. We collected morphometric, developmental, and behavioural data in an experiment using dragonfly larvae (predator) and Northern leopard frog tadpoles (prey) subject to variable levels of food availability and predation risk. Larvae exposed to food restriction showed limited response to predation risk; larvae at food saturation altered behaviour, development, and growth in response to predation risk. Responses to risk varied through time, suggesting ontogeny may affect the deployment of particular defensive traits. The observed negative correlation between body size and activity level for food-restricted prey--and the absence of a similar response among adequately-fed prey--suggests that a trade-off exists between behavioural and growth responses when energy budgets are limited. Our research is the first to demonstrate how investment into these defensive traits is mediated along gradients of both predation risk and resource availability over time. The interactions we demonstrate between resource availability and risk level on deployment of inducible defenses provide evidence that both internal condition and extrinsic risk factors play a critical role in the production of inducible defenses over time. PMID:24349259

  1. Prey composition modulates exposure risk to anticoagulant rodenticides in a sentinel predator, the barn owl.

    PubMed

    Geduhn, Anke; Esther, Alexandra; Schenke, Detlef; Gabriel, Doreen; Jacob, Jens

    2016-02-15

    Worldwide, small rodents are main prey items for many mammalian and avian predators. Some rodent species have pest potential and are managed with anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs). ARs are consumed by target and non-target small mammals and can lead to secondary exposure of predators. The development of appropriate risk mitigation strategies is important and requires detailed knowledge of AR residue pathways. From July 2011 to October 2013 we collected 2397 regurgitated barn owl (Tyto alba) pellets to analyze diet composition of owls on livestock farms in western Germany. 256 of them were fresh pellets that were collected during brodifacoum baiting. Fresh pellets and 742 liver samples of small mammals that were trapped during baiting in the same area were analyzed for residues of ARs. We calculated exposure risk of barn owls to ARs by comparing seasonal diet composition of owls with AR residue patterns in prey species. Risk was highest in autumn, when barn owls increasingly preyed on Apodemus that regularly showed AR residues, sometimes at high concentrations. The major prey species (Microtus spp.) that was consumed most frequently in summer had less potential to contribute to secondary poisoning of owls. There was no effect of AR application on prey composition. We rarely detected ARs in pellets (2 of 256 samples) but 13% of 38 prey individuals in barn owl nests were AR positive and substantiated the expected pathway. AR residues were present in 55% of 11 barn owl carcasses. Fluctuation in non-target small mammal abundance and differences in AR residue exposure patterns in prey species drives exposure risk for barn owls and probably other predators of small mammals. Exposure risk could be minimized through spatial and temporal adaption of AR applications (avoiding long baiting and non-target hot spots at farms) and through selective bait access for target animals. PMID:26657360

  2. Assessing juvenile salmon rearing habitat and associated predation risk in a lower Snake River reservoir

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tiffan, Kenneth F.; Hatten, James R.; Trachtenbarg, David A

    2015-01-01

    Subyearling fall Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in the Columbia River basin exhibit a transient rearing strategy and depend on connected shoreline habitats during freshwater rearing. Impoundment has greatly reduced the amount of shallow-water rearing habitat that is exacerbated by the steep topography of reservoirs. Periodic dredging creates opportunities to strategically place spoils to increase the amount of shallow-water habitat for subyearlings while at the same time reducing the amount of unsuitable area that is often preferred by predators. We assessed the amount and spatial arrangement of subyearling rearing habitat in Lower Granite Reservoir on the Snake River to guide future habitat improvement efforts. A spatially explicit habitat assessment was conducted using physical habitat data, two-dimensional hydrodynamic modelling and a statistical habitat model in a geographic information system framework. We used field collections of subyearlings and a common predator [smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu)] to draw inferences about predation risk within specific habitat types. Most of the high-probability rearing habitat was located in the upper half of the reservoir where gently sloping landforms created low lateral bed slopes and shallow-water habitats. Only 29% of shorelines were predicted to be suitable (probability >0.5) for subyearlings, and the occurrence of these shorelines decreased in a downstream direction. The remaining, less suitable areas were composed of low-probability habitats in unmodified (25%) and riprapped shorelines (46%). As expected, most subyearlings were found in high-probability habitat, while most smallmouth bass were found in low-probability locations. However, some subyearlings were found in low-probability habitats, such as riprap, where predation risk could be high. Given their transient rearing strategy and dependence on shoreline habitats, subyearlings could benefit from habitat creation efforts in the lower

  3. Habitat selection and risk of predation: re-colonization by lynx had limited impact on habitat selection by roe deer.

    PubMed

    Samelius, Gustaf; Andrén, Henrik; Kjellander, Petter; Liberg, Olof

    2013-01-01

    Risk of predation is an evolutionary force that affects behaviors of virtually all animals. In this study, we examined how habitat selection by roe deer was affected by risk of predation by Eurasian lynx - the main predator of roe deer in Scandinavia. Specifically, we compared how habitat selection by roe deer varied (1) before and after lynx re-established in the study area and (2) in relation to habitat-specific risk of predation by lynx. All analyses were conducted at the spatial and temporal scales of home ranges and seasons. We did not find any evidence that roe deer avoided habitats in which the risk of predation by lynx was greatest and information-theoretic model selection showed that re-colonization by lynx had limited impact on habitat selection by roe deer despite lynx predation causing 65% of known mortalities after lynx re-colonized the area. Instead we found that habitat selection decreased when habitat availability increased for 2 of 5 habitat types (a pattern referred to as functional response in habitat selection). Limited impact of re-colonization by lynx on habitat selection by roe deer in this study differs from elk in North America altering both daily and seasonal patterns in habitat selection at the spatial scales of habitat patches and home ranges when wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park. Our study thus provides further evidence of the complexity by which animals respond to risk of predation and suggest that it may vary between ecosystems and predator-prey constellations. PMID:24069419

  4. Conditional Reduction of Predation Risk Associated with a Facultative Symbiont in an Insect.

    PubMed

    Polin, Sarah; Le Gallic, Jean-François; Simon, Jean-Christophe; Tsuchida, Tsutomu; Outreman, Yannick

    2015-01-01

    Symbionts are widespread among eukaryotes and their impacts on the ecology and evolution of their hosts are meaningful. Most insects harbour obligate and facultative symbiotic bacteria that can influence their phenotype. In the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, an astounding symbiotic-mediated phenotype has been recently observed: when infected with the symbiotic bacteria Rickettsiella viridis, young red aphid larvae become greener at adulthood and even darker green when co-infected with Rickettsiella viridis and Hamiltonella defensa. As body colour affects the susceptibility towards natural enemies in aphids, the influence of the colour change due to these facultative symbionts on the host survival in presence of predators was tested. Our results suggested that the Rickettsiella viridis infection may impact positively host survival by reducing predation risk. Due to results from uninfected aphids (i.e., more green ones attacked), the main assumption is that this symbiotic infection would deter the predatory ladybird feeding by reducing the profitability of their hosts rather than decreasing host detection through body colour change. Aphids co-infected with Rickettsiella viridis and Hamiltonella defensa were, however, more exposed to predation suggesting an ecological cost associated with multiple infections. The underlying mechanisms and ecological consequences of these symbiotic effects are discussed. PMID:26618776

  5. Conditional Reduction of Predation Risk Associated with a Facultative Symbiont in an Insect

    PubMed Central

    Polin, Sarah; Le Gallic, Jean-François; Simon, Jean-Christophe; Tsuchida, Tsutomu; Outreman, Yannick

    2015-01-01

    Symbionts are widespread among eukaryotes and their impacts on the ecology and evolution of their hosts are meaningful. Most insects harbour obligate and facultative symbiotic bacteria that can influence their phenotype. In the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum, an astounding symbiotic-mediated phenotype has been recently observed: when infected with the symbiotic bacteria Rickettsiella viridis, young red aphid larvae become greener at adulthood and even darker green when co-infected with Rickettsiella viridis and Hamiltonella defensa. As body colour affects the susceptibility towards natural enemies in aphids, the influence of the colour change due to these facultative symbionts on the host survival in presence of predators was tested. Our results suggested that the Rickettsiella viridis infection may impact positively host survival by reducing predation risk. Due to results from uninfected aphids (i.e., more green ones attacked), the main assumption is that this symbiotic infection would deter the predatory ladybird feeding by reducing the profitability of their hosts rather than decreasing host detection through body colour change. Aphids co-infected with Rickettsiella viridis and Hamiltonella defensa were, however, more exposed to predation suggesting an ecological cost associated with multiple infections. The underlying mechanisms and ecological consequences of these symbiotic effects are discussed. PMID:26618776

  6. Risk of spider predation alters food web structure and reduces local herbivory in the field.

    PubMed

    Bucher, Roman; Menzel, Florian; Entling, Martin H

    2015-06-01

    Predators can indirectly enhance plant performance via herbivore suppression, with both prey consumption and changes in prey traits (e.g. changes in foraging behaviour) contributing to the reduction in herbivory. We performed a field experiment to determine the extent of such non-consumptive effects which consisted of repeatedly placing spiders (Pisaura mirabilis) on enclosed plants (Urtica dioica) for cue deposition. Control plants were enclosed in the same way but without spiders. After cue deposition, the enclosures were removed to allow arthropods to colonize the plants and feed on them. Arthropods were removed from the plants before the subsequent spider deposition or control enclosure. During six cycles of enclosure, we quantified leaf damage on the plants. After a seventh cycle, the colonizing arthropods were sampled to determine community composition in relation to the presence/absence of spider cues. We found that the presence of chemotactile spider cues reduced leaf damage by 50 %. In addition, spider cues led to changes in the arthropod community: smaller spiders avoided plants with spider cues. In contrast, the aphid-tending ant Myrmica rubra showed higher recruitment of workers on cue-bearing plants, possibly to protect aphids. Our results show that the risk of spider predation can reduce herbivory on wild plants and also demonstrate that non-consumptive effects can be particularly strong within the predator guild. PMID:25630957

  7. Effects of maternal nutrition, resource use and multi-predator risk on neonatal white-tailed deer survival.

    PubMed

    Duquette, Jared F; Belant, Jerrold L; Svoboda, Nathan J; Beyer, Dean E; Lederle, Patrick E

    2014-01-01

    Growth of ungulate populations is typically most sensitive to survival of neonates, which in turn is influenced by maternal nutritional condition and trade-offs in resource selection and avoidance of predators. We assessed whether resource use, multi-predator risk, maternal nutritional effects, hiding cover, or interactions among these variables best explained variation in daily survival of free-ranging neonatal white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) during their post-partum period (14 May-31 Aug) in Michigan, USA. We used Cox proportional hazards mixed-effects models to assess survival related to covariates of resource use, composite predation risk of 4 mammalian predators, fawn body mass at birth, winter weather, and vegetation growth phenology. Predation, particularly from coyotes (Canis latrans), was the leading cause of mortality; however, an additive model of non-ideal resource use and maternal nutritional effects explained 71% of the variation in survival. This relationship suggested that dams selected areas where fawns had poor resources, while greater predation in these areas led to additive mortalities beyond those related to resource use alone. Also, maternal nutritional effects suggested that severe winters resulted in dams producing smaller fawns, which decreased their likelihood of survival. Fawn resource use appeared to reflect dam avoidance of lowland forests with poor forage and greater use by wolves (C. lupus), their primary predator. While this strategy led to greater fawn mortality, particularly by coyotes, it likely promoted the life-long reproductive success of dams because many reached late-age (>10 years old) and could have produced multiple generations of fawns. Studies often link resource selection and survival of ungulates, but our results suggested that multiple factors can mediate that relationship, including multi-predator risk. We emphasize the importance of identifying interactions among biological and environmental factors when

  8. Effects of depth and crayfish size on predation risk and foraging profitability of a lotic crayfish

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Flinders, C.A.; Magoulick, D.D.

    2007-01-01

    crayfish grew faster in shallow habitats where they might have had a fitness advantage caused by high prey availability and reduced predation risk. Size-dependent reduction of silt by crayfish might influence benthic habitats where large crayfish are abundant. ?? 2007 by The North American Benthological Society.

  9. Linking anti-predator behaviour to prey demography reveals limited risk effects of an actively hunting large carnivore

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Middleton, Arthur D.; Kauffman, Matthew J.; McWhirter, Douglas E.; Jimenez, Michael D.; Cook, Rachel C.; Cook, John G.; Albeke, Shannon E.; Sawyer, Hall; White, P.J.

    2013-01-01

    Ecological theory predicts that the diffuse risk cues generated by wide-ranging, active predators should induce prey behavioural responses but not major, population- or community-level consequences. We evaluated the non-consumptive effects (NCEs) of an active predator, the grey wolf (Canis lupus), by simultaneously tracking wolves and the behaviour, body fat, and pregnancy of elk (Cervus elaphus), their primary prey in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. When wolves approached within 1 km, elk increased their rates of movement, displacement and vigilance. Even in high-risk areas, however, these encounters occurred only once every 9 days. Ultimately, despite 20-fold variation in the frequency of encounters between wolves and individual elk, the risk of predation was not associated with elk body fat or pregnancy. Our findings suggest that the ecological consequences of actively hunting large carnivores, such as the wolf, are more likely transmitted by consumptive effects on prey survival than NCEs on prey behaviour.

  10. Linking anti-predator behaviour to prey demography reveals limited risk effects of an actively hunting large carnivore.

    PubMed

    Middleton, Arthur D; Kauffman, Matthew J; McWhirter, Douglas E; Jimenez, Michael D; Cook, Rachel C; Cook, John G; Albeke, Shannon E; Sawyer, Hall; White, P J

    2013-08-01

    Ecological theory predicts that the diffuse risk cues generated by wide-ranging, active predators should induce prey behavioural responses but not major, population- or community-level consequences. We evaluated the non-consumptive effects (NCEs) of an active predator, the grey wolf (Canis lupus), by simultaneously tracking wolves and the behaviour, body fat, and pregnancy of elk (Cervus elaphus), their primary prey in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. When wolves approached within 1 km, elk increased their rates of movement, displacement and vigilance. Even in high-risk areas, however, these encounters occurred only once every 9 days. Ultimately, despite 20-fold variation in the frequency of encounters between wolves and individual elk, the risk of predation was not associated with elk body fat or pregnancy. Our findings suggest that the ecological consequences of actively hunting large carnivores, such as the wolf, are more likely transmitted by consumptive effects on prey survival than NCEs on prey behaviour. PMID:23750905

  11. Using the risk-disturbance hypothesis to assess the relative effects of human disturbance and predation risk on foraging American Oystercatchers

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peters, K.A.; Otis, D.L.

    2005-01-01

    The risk-disturbance hypothesis asserts that animals perceive human disturbance similar to nonlethal predation stimuli, and exhibit comparable responses in the form of optimization tradeoffs. However, few studies have examined how natural predation risk factors interact with human-disturbance stimuli to elicit such responses. We observed American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) vigilance behavior from September-December 2002 on the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina. A set of models was constructed based on 340 focal-animal samples and models revealed relationships between vigilance behavior, predator density, and boat activity. Oystercatchers increased vigilance in response to aerial predators, particularly late in the season when predator species composition was dominated by Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus). At a broader temporal scale, oystercatchers exhibited the highest vigilance rates during simultaneous peaks in boating disturbance and Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) activity. Due to this temporal overlap of stimuli, it is difficult to interpret what may have been driving the observed increased in vigilance. Foraging rates appeared to be primarily driven by habitat and tidal stage indicating that time lost to vigilance did not effectively reduce intake. Taken together, these findings provide some support for the risk-disturbance hypothesis, underscore the sensitivity of disturbance studies to temporal scale, and draw attention to the potential confounding effects of natural predation risk. ?? The Cooper Ornithological Society 2005.

  12. Is it safe to nest near conspicuous neighbours? Spatial patterns in predation risk associated with the density of American Golden-Plover nests.

    PubMed

    Giroux, Marie-Andrée; Trottier-Paquet, Myriam; Bêty, Joël; Lamarre, Vincent; Lecomte, Nicolas

    2016-01-01

    Predation is one of the main factors explaining nesting mortality in most bird species. Birds can avoid nest predation or reduce predation pressure by breeding at higher latitude, showing anti-predator behaviour, selecting nest sites protected from predators, and nesting in association with protective species. American Golden-Plovers (Pluvialis dominica) defend their territory by using various warning and distraction behaviours displayed at varying levels of intensity (hereafter "conspicuous behaviour"), as well as more aggressive behaviours such as aerial attacks, but only in some populations. Such antipredator behaviour has the potential to repel predators and thus benefit the neighbouring nests by decreasing their predation risk. Yet, conspicuous behaviour could also attract predators by signalling the presence of a nest. To test for the existence of a protective effect associated with the conspicuous antipredator behaviour of American Golden-Plovers, we studied the influence of proximity to plover nests on predation risk of artificial nests on Igloolik Island (Nunavut, Canada) in July 2014. We predicted that the predation risk of artificial nests would decrease with proximity to and density of plover nests. We monitored 18 plover nests and set 35 artificial nests at 30, 50, 100, 200, and 500 m from seven of those plover nests. We found that the predation risk of artificial nests increases with the density of active plover nests. We also found a significant negative effect of the distance to the nearest active protector nest on predation risk of artificial nests. Understanding how the composition and structure of shorebird communities generate spatial patterns in predation risks represents a key step to better understand the importance of these species of conservation concern in tundra food webs. PMID:27602257

  13. Is it safe to nest near conspicuous neighbours? Spatial patterns in predation risk associated with the density of American Golden-Plover nests

    PubMed Central

    Trottier-Paquet, Myriam; Bêty, Joël; Lamarre, Vincent; Lecomte, Nicolas

    2016-01-01

    Predation is one of the main factors explaining nesting mortality in most bird species. Birds can avoid nest predation or reduce predation pressure by breeding at higher latitude, showing anti-predator behaviour, selecting nest sites protected from predators, and nesting in association with protective species. American Golden-Plovers (Pluvialis dominica) defend their territory by using various warning and distraction behaviours displayed at varying levels of intensity (hereafter “conspicuous behaviour”), as well as more aggressive behaviours such as aerial attacks, but only in some populations. Such antipredator behaviour has the potential to repel predators and thus benefit the neighbouring nests by decreasing their predation risk. Yet, conspicuous behaviour could also attract predators by signalling the presence of a nest. To test for the existence of a protective effect associated with the conspicuous antipredator behaviour of American Golden-Plovers, we studied the influence of proximity to plover nests on predation risk of artificial nests on Igloolik Island (Nunavut, Canada) in July 2014. We predicted that the predation risk of artificial nests would decrease with proximity to and density of plover nests. We monitored 18 plover nests and set 35 artificial nests at 30, 50, 100, 200, and 500 m from seven of those plover nests. We found that the predation risk of artificial nests increases with the density of active plover nests. We also found a significant negative effect of the distance to the nearest active protector nest on predation risk of artificial nests. Understanding how the composition and structure of shorebird communities generate spatial patterns in predation risks represents a key step to better understand the importance of these species of conservation concern in tundra food webs. PMID:27602257

  14. Trade-Offs between Predation Risk and Growth Benefits in the Copepod Eurytemora affinis with Contrasting Pigmentation

    PubMed Central

    Gorokhova, Elena; Lehtiniemi, Maiju; Motwani, Nisha H.

    2013-01-01

    Intraspecific variation in body pigmentation is an ecologically and evolutionary important trait; however, the pigmentation related trade-offs in marine zooplankton are poorly understood. We tested the effects of intrapopulation phenotypic variation in the pigmentation of the copepod Eurytemora affinis on predation risk, foraging, growth, metabolic activity and antioxidant capacity. Using pigmented and unpigmented specimens, we compared (1) predation and selectivity by the invertebrate predator Cercopagis pengoi, (2) feeding activity of the copepods measured as grazing rate in experiments and gut fluorescence in situ, (3) metabolic activity assayed as RNA:DNA ratio in both experimental and field-collected copepods, (4) reproductive output estimated as egg ratio in the population, and (5) total antioxidant capacity. Moreover, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) COI gene variation was analysed. The pigmented individuals were at higher predation risk as evidenced by significantly higher predation rate by C. pengoi on pigmented individuals and positive selection by the predator fed pigmented and unpigmented copepods in a mixture. However, the antioxidant capacity, RNA:DNA and egg ratio values were significantly higher in the pigmented copepods, whereas neither feeding rate nor gut fluorescence differed between the pigmented and unpigmented copepods. The phenotypic variation in pigmentation was not associated with any specific mtDNA genotype. Together, these results support the metabolic stimulation hypothesis to explain variation in E. affinis pigmentation, which translates into beneficial increase in growth via enhanced metabolism and antioxidant protective capacity, together with disadvantageous increase in predation risk. We also suggest an alternative mechanism for the metabolic stimulation via elevated antioxidant levels as a primary means of increasing metabolism without the increase in heat absorbance. The observed trade-offs are relevant to evolutionary mechanisms

  15. Trade-offs between predation risk and growth benefits in the copepod Eurytemora affinis with contrasting pigmentation.

    PubMed

    Gorokhova, Elena; Lehtiniemi, Maiju; Motwani, Nisha H

    2013-01-01

    Intraspecific variation in body pigmentation is an ecologically and evolutionary important trait; however, the pigmentation related trade-offs in marine zooplankton are poorly understood. We tested the effects of intrapopulation phenotypic variation in the pigmentation of the copepod Eurytemora affinis on predation risk, foraging, growth, metabolic activity and antioxidant capacity. Using pigmented and unpigmented specimens, we compared (1) predation and selectivity by the invertebrate predator Cercopagis pengoi, (2) feeding activity of the copepods measured as grazing rate in experiments and gut fluorescence in situ, (3) metabolic activity assayed as RNA:DNA ratio in both experimental and field-collected copepods, (4) reproductive output estimated as egg ratio in the population, and (5) total antioxidant capacity. Moreover, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) COI gene variation was analysed. The pigmented individuals were at higher predation risk as evidenced by significantly higher predation rate by C. pengoi on pigmented individuals and positive selection by the predator fed pigmented and unpigmented copepods in a mixture. However, the antioxidant capacity, RNA:DNA and egg ratio values were significantly higher in the pigmented copepods, whereas neither feeding rate nor gut fluorescence differed between the pigmented and unpigmented copepods. The phenotypic variation in pigmentation was not associated with any specific mtDNA genotype. Together, these results support the metabolic stimulation hypothesis to explain variation in E. affinis pigmentation, which translates into beneficial increase in growth via enhanced metabolism and antioxidant protective capacity, together with disadvantageous increase in predation risk. We also suggest an alternative mechanism for the metabolic stimulation via elevated antioxidant levels as a primary means of increasing metabolism without the increase in heat absorbance. The observed trade-offs are relevant to evolutionary mechanisms

  16. Risks of multimodal signaling: bat predators attend to dynamic motion in frog sexual displays.

    PubMed

    Halfwerk, Wouter; Dixon, Marjorie M; Ottens, Kristina J; Taylor, Ryan C; Ryan, Michael J; Page, Rachel A; Jones, Patricia L

    2014-09-01

    Many sexual displays contain multiple components that are received through a variety of sensory modalities. Primary and secondary signal components can interact to induce novel receiver responses and become targets of sexual selection as complex signals. However, predators can also use these complex signals for prey assessment, which may limit the evolution of elaborate sexual signals. We tested whether a multimodal sexual display of the male túngara frog (Physalaemus pustulosus) increases predation risk from the fringe-lipped bat (Trachops cirrhosus) when compared with a unimodal display. We gave bats a choice to attack one of two frog models: a model with a vocal sac moving in synchrony with a mating call (multisensory cue), or a control model with the call but no vocal sac movement (unimodal cue). Bats preferred to attack the model associated with the multimodal display. Furthermore, we determined that bats perceive the vocal sac using echolocation rather than visual cues. Our data illustrate the costs associated with multimodal signaling and that sexual and natural selection pressures on the same trait are not always mediated through the same sensory modalities. These data are important when considering the role of environmental fluctuations on signal evolution as different sensory modalities will be differentially affected. PMID:25165134

  17. Ultimate Predators: Lionfish Have Evolved to Circumvent Prey Risk Assessment Abilities

    PubMed Central

    Lönnstedt, Oona M.; McCormick, Mark I.

    2013-01-01

    Invasive species cause catastrophic alterations to communities worldwide by changing the trophic balance within ecosystems. Ever since their introduction in the mid 1980's common red lionfish, Pterois volitans, are having dramatic impacts on the Caribbean ecosystem by displacing native species and disrupting food webs. Introduced lionfish capture prey at extraordinary rates, altering the composition of benthic communities. Here we demonstrate that the extraordinary success of the introduced lionfish lies in its capacity to circumvent prey risk assessment abilities as it is virtually undetectable by prey species in its native range. While experienced prey damselfish, Chromis viridis, respond with typical antipredator behaviours when exposed to a common predatory rock cod (Cephalopholis microprion) they fail to visibly react to either the scent or visual presentation of the red lionfish, and responded only to the scent (not the visual cue) of a lionfish of a different genus, Dendrochirus zebra. Experienced prey also had much higher survival when exposed to the two non-invasive predators compared to P. volitans. The cryptic nature of the red lionfish has enabled it to be destructive as a predator and a highly successful invasive species. PMID:24146775

  18. Ultimate predators: lionfish have evolved to circumvent prey risk assessment abilities.

    PubMed

    Lönnstedt, Oona M; McCormick, Mark I

    2013-01-01

    Invasive species cause catastrophic alterations to communities worldwide by changing the trophic balance within ecosystems. Ever since their introduction in the mid 1980's common red lionfish, Pterois volitans, are having dramatic impacts on the Caribbean ecosystem by displacing native species and disrupting food webs. Introduced lionfish capture prey at extraordinary rates, altering the composition of benthic communities. Here we demonstrate that the extraordinary success of the introduced lionfish lies in its capacity to circumvent prey risk assessment abilities as it is virtually undetectable by prey species in its native range. While experienced prey damselfish, Chromis viridis, respond with typical antipredator behaviours when exposed to a common predatory rock cod (Cephalopholis microprion) they fail to visibly react to either the scent or visual presentation of the red lionfish, and responded only to the scent (not the visual cue) of a lionfish of a different genus, Dendrochirus zebra. Experienced prey also had much higher survival when exposed to the two non-invasive predators compared to P. volitans. The cryptic nature of the red lionfish has enabled it to be destructive as a predator and a highly successful invasive species. PMID:24146775

  19. Responses of tadpoles to hybrid predator odours: strong maternal signatures and the potential risk/response mismatch.

    PubMed

    Chivers, Douglas P; Mathiron, Anthony; Sloychuk, Janelle R; Ferrari, Maud C O

    2015-06-22

    Previous studies have established that when a prey animal knows the identity of a particular predator, it can use this knowledge to make an 'educated guess' about similar novel predators. Such generalization of predator recognition may be particularly beneficial when prey are exposed to introduced and invasive species of predators or hybrids. Here, we examined generalization of predator recognition for woodfrog tadpoles exposed to novel trout predators. Tadpoles conditioned to recognize tiger trout, a hybrid derived from brown trout and brook trout, showed generalization of recognition of several unknown trout odours. Interestingly, the tadpoles showed stronger responses to odours of brown trout than brook trout. In a second experiment, we found that tadpoles trained to recognize brown trout showed stronger responses to tiger trout than those tadpoles trained to recognize brook trout. Given that tiger trout always have a brown trout mother and a brook trout father, these results suggest a strong maternal signature in trout odours. Tadpoles that were trained to recognize both brown trout and brook trout showed stronger response to novel tiger trout than those trained to recognize only brown trout or only brook trout. This is consistent with a peak shift in recognition, whereby cues that are intermediate between two known cues evoke stronger responses than either known cue. Given that our woodfrog tadpoles have no evolutionary or individual experience with trout, they have no way of knowing whether or not brook trout, brown trout or tiger trout are more dangerous. The differential intensity of responses that we observed to hybrid trout cues and each of the parental species indicates that there is a likely mismatch between risk and anti-predator response intensity. Future work needs to address the critical role of prey naivety on responses to invasive and introduced hybrid predators. PMID:26041358

  20. Responses of tadpoles to hybrid predator odours: strong maternal signatures and the potential risk/response mismatch

    PubMed Central

    Chivers, Douglas P.; Mathiron, Anthony; Sloychuk, Janelle R.; Ferrari, Maud C. O.

    2015-01-01

    Previous studies have established that when a prey animal knows the identity of a particular predator, it can use this knowledge to make an ‘educated guess' about similar novel predators. Such generalization of predator recognition may be particularly beneficial when prey are exposed to introduced and invasive species of predators or hybrids. Here, we examined generalization of predator recognition for woodfrog tadpoles exposed to novel trout predators. Tadpoles conditioned to recognize tiger trout, a hybrid derived from brown trout and brook trout, showed generalization of recognition of several unknown trout odours. Interestingly, the tadpoles showed stronger responses to odours of brown trout than brook trout. In a second experiment, we found that tadpoles trained to recognize brown trout showed stronger responses to tiger trout than those tadpoles trained to recognize brook trout. Given that tiger trout always have a brown trout mother and a brook trout father, these results suggest a strong maternal signature in trout odours. Tadpoles that were trained to recognize both brown trout and brook trout showed stronger response to novel tiger trout than those trained to recognize only brown trout or only brook trout. This is consistent with a peak shift in recognition, whereby cues that are intermediate between two known cues evoke stronger responses than either known cue. Given that our woodfrog tadpoles have no evolutionary or individual experience with trout, they have no way of knowing whether or not brook trout, brown trout or tiger trout are more dangerous. The differential intensity of responses that we observed to hybrid trout cues and each of the parental species indicates that there is a likely mismatch between risk and anti-predator response intensity. Future work needs to address the critical role of prey naivety on responses to invasive and introduced hybrid predators. PMID:26041358

  1. Predation risk, resource quality, and reef structural complexity shape territoriality in a coral reef herbivore.

    PubMed

    Catano, Laura B; Gunn, Bridgette K; Kelley, Megan C; Burkepile, Deron E

    2015-01-01

    For many species securing territories is important for feeding and reproduction. Factors such as competition, habitat availability, and male characteristics can influence an individual's ability to establish and maintain a territory. The risk of predation can have an important influence on feeding and reproduction; however, few have studied its effect on territoriality. We investigated territoriality in a haremic, polygynous species of coral reef herbivore, Sparisoma aurofrenatum (redband parrotfish), across eight reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary that were either protected or unprotected from fishing of piscivorous fishes. We examined how territory size and quality varied with reef protection status, competition, predation risk, and male size. We then determined how territory size and quality influenced harem size and female size to understand the effect of territoriality on reproductive potential. We found that protected reefs trended towards having more large predatory fishes and that territories there were smaller but had greater algal nutritional quality relative to unprotected reefs. Our data suggest that even though males in protected sites have smaller territories, which support fewer females, they may improve their reproductive potential by choosing nutritionally rich areas, which support larger females. Thus, reef protection appears to shape the trade-off that herbivorous fishes make between territory size and quality. Furthermore, we provide evidence that males in unprotected sites, which are generally less complex than protected sites, choose territories with higher structural complexity, suggesting the importance of this type of habitat for feeding and reproduction in S. aurofrenatum. Our work argues that the loss of corals and the resulting decline in structural complexity, as well as management efforts to protect reefs, could alter the territory dynamics and reproductive potential of important herbivorous fish species. PMID:25714431

  2. Predation Risk, Resource Quality, and Reef Structural Complexity Shape Territoriality in a Coral Reef Herbivore

    PubMed Central

    Gunn, Bridgette K.; Kelley, Megan C.

    2015-01-01

    For many species securing territories is important for feeding and reproduction. Factors such as competition, habitat availability, and male characteristics can influence an individual’s ability to establish and maintain a territory. The risk of predation can have an important influence on feeding and reproduction; however, few have studied its effect on territoriality. We investigated territoriality in a haremic, polygynous species of coral reef herbivore, Sparisoma aurofrenatum (redband parrotfish), across eight reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary that were either protected or unprotected from fishing of piscivorous fishes. We examined how territory size and quality varied with reef protection status, competition, predation risk, and male size. We then determined how territory size and quality influenced harem size and female size to understand the effect of territoriality on reproductive potential. We found that protected reefs trended towards having more large predatory fishes and that territories there were smaller but had greater algal nutritional quality relative to unprotected reefs. Our data suggest that even though males in protected sites have smaller territories, which support fewer females, they may improve their reproductive potential by choosing nutritionally rich areas, which support larger females. Thus, reef protection appears to shape the trade-off that herbivorous fishes make between territory size and quality. Furthermore, we provide evidence that males in unprotected sites, which are generally less complex than protected sites, choose territories with higher structural complexity, suggesting the importance of this type of habitat for feeding and reproduction in S. aurofrenatum. Our work argues that the loss of corals and the resulting decline in structural complexity, as well as management efforts to protect reefs, could alter the territory dynamics and reproductive potential of important herbivorous fish species. PMID

  3. Risks in teaching manipulation techniques in master programmes.

    PubMed

    Pool, Jan; Cagnie, Barbara; Pool-Goudzwaard, Annelies

    2016-09-01

    High Velocity Techniques (HVT) in the (high) cervical spine are part of the standard curricula of manual therapy educational programmes. Little is known about the risk or the presence of adverse events during skills training sessions. This article describes two cases of students with both being at risk for an adverse event; one with a congenital artery aberration and one with cancer in the high cervical region. Teachers and educational programme developers should take risk management into account when teaching HVT. PMID:27319283

  4. Reproductive state affects hiding behaviour under risk of predation but not exploratory activity of female Spanish terrapins.

    PubMed

    Ibáñez, Alejandro; Marzal, Alfonso; López, Pilar; Martín, José

    2015-02-01

    Female investment during reproduction may reduce survivorship due to increased predation risk. During pregnancy, the locomotor performance of gravid females might be diminished due to the additional weight acquired. In addition, egg production may also increase thermoregulatory, metabolic and physiological costs. Also, pregnant females have greater potential fitness and should take fewer risks. Thus, females should ponder their reproductive state when considering their behavioural responses under risky situations. Here, we examine how reproductive state influence risk-taking behaviour in different contexts in female Spanish terrapins (Mauremys leprosa). We simulated predator attacks of different risk levels and measured the time that the turtles spent hiding entirely inside their own shells (i.e. appearance times). We also assessed the subsequent time after emergence from the shell that the turtles spent immobile monitoring for predators before starting to escape actively (i.e. waiting times). Likewise, we performed a novel-environment test and measured the exploratory activity of turtles. We found no correlations between appearance time, waiting time or exploratory activity, but appearance times were correlated across different risk levels. Only appearance time was affected by the reproductive state, where gravid females reappeared relatively later from their shells after a predator attack than non-gravid ones. Moreover, among gravid females, those carrying greater clutches tended to have longer appearance times. This suggests that only larger clutches could affect hiding behaviour in risky contexts. In contrast, waiting time spent scanning for predators and exploratory activity were not affected by the reproductive state. These differences between gravid and non-gravid females might be explained by the metabolic-physiological costs associated with egg production and embryo maintenance, as well as by the relatively higher potential fitness of gravid females. PMID

  5. Getting ready for invasions: can background level of risk predict the ability of naïve prey to survive novel predators?

    PubMed Central

    Ferrari, Maud C. O.; Crane, Adam L.; Brown, Grant E.; Chivers, Douglas P.

    2015-01-01

    Factors predicting the outcome of predator invasions on native prey communities are critical to our understanding of invasion ecology. Here, we tested whether background level of risk affected the survival of prey to novel predators, both native and invasive, predicting that high-risk environments would better prepare prey for invasions. We used naïve woodfrog as our prey and exposed them to a high or low risk regime either as embryos (prenatal exposure) or as larvae (recent exposure). Tadpoles were then tested for their survival in the presence of 4 novel predators: two dytiscid beetles, crayfish and trout. Survival was affected by both risk level and predator type. High risk was beneficial to prey exposed to the dytiscids larvae (ambush predators), but detrimental to prey exposed to crayfish or trout (pursuit predators). No effect of ontogeny of risk was found. We further documented that high-risk tadpoles were overall more active than their low-risk counterparts, explaining the patterns found with survival. Our results provide insights into the relationship between risk and resilience to predator invasions. PMID:25655436

  6. The scent of danger: arginine as an olfactory cue of reduced predation risk.

    PubMed

    Ferrer, Ryan P; Zimmer, Richard K

    2007-05-01

    Animal perception of chemosensory cues is a function of ecological context. Larvae of the California newt (Taricha torosa), for example, exhibit predator-avoidance behavior in response to a chemical from cannibalistic adults. The poison tetrodotoxin (TTX), well known as an adult chemical defense, stimulates larval escape to refuges. Although they are cannibals, adult newts feed preferentially on worms (Eisenia rosea) over conspecific young. Hence, larval avoidance reactions to TTX are suppressed in the presence of odor from these alternative prey. The free amino acid, arginine, is abundant in fluids emitted by injured worms. Here, we demonstrate that arginine is a natural suppressant of TTX-stimulated larval escape behavior. Compared to a tapwater control, larvae initiated vigorous swimming in response to 10(-7) mol l(-1) TTX. This excitatory response was eliminated when larval nasal cavities were blocked with an inert gel, but not when gel was placed on the forehead (control). In additional trials, a binary mixture of arginine and 10(-7) mol l(-1) TTX failed to induce larval swimming. The inhibitory effect of arginine was, however, dose dependent. An arginine concentration as low as 0.3-times that of TTX was significantly suppressant. Further analysis showed that suppression by arginine of TTX-stimulated behavior was eliminated by altering the positively-charged guanidinium moiety, but not by modifying the carbon chain, carboxyl group, or amine group. These results are best explained by a mechanism of competitive inhibition between arginine and TTX for common, olfactory receptor binding sites. Although arginine alone has no impact on larval behavior, it nevertheless signals active adult predation on alternative prey, and hence, reduced cannibalism risk. PMID:17488940

  7. Latitudinal and photic effects on diel foraging and predation risk in freshwater pelagic ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Hansen, Adam G; Beauchamp, David A

    2015-03-01

    . Model results show that diel-seasonal foraging and predation risk in freshwater pelagic ecosystems changes considerably with latitude, turbidity and cloud cover. These changes alter the structure of pelagic predator-prey interactions, and in turn, the broader role of pelagic consumers in habitat coupling in lakes. PMID:25266197

  8. Social learning strategies and predation risk: minnows copy only when using private information would be costly

    PubMed Central

    Webster, M.M; Laland, K.N

    2008-01-01

    Animals can acquire information from the environment privately, by sampling it directly, or socially, through learning from others. Generally, private information is more accurate, but expensive to acquire, while social information is cheaper but less reliable. Accordingly, the ‘costly information hypothesis’ predicts that individuals will use private information when the costs associated with doing so are low, but that they should increasingly use social information as the costs of using private information rise. While consistent with considerable data, this theory has yet to be directly tested in a satisfactory manner. We tested this hypothesis by giving minnows (Phoxinus phoxinus) a choice between socially demonstrated and non-demonstrated prey patches under conditions of low, indirect and high simulated predation risk. Subjects had no experience (experiment 1) or prior private information that conflicted with the social information provided by the demonstrators (experiment 2). In both experiments, subjects spent more time in the demonstrated patch than in the non-demonstrated patch, and in experiment 1 made fewer switches between patches, when risk was high compared with when it was low. These findings are consistent with the predictions of the costly information hypothesis, and imply that minnows adopt a ‘copy-when-asocial-learning-is-costly’ learning strategy. PMID:18755676

  9. Foraging and predation risk for larval cisco (Coregonus artedi) in Lake Superior: a modelling synthesis of empirical survey data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Myers, Jared T.; Yule, Daniel L.; Jones, Michael L.; Quinlan, Henry R.; Berglund, Eric K.

    2014-01-01

    The relative importance of predation and food availability as contributors to larval cisco (Coregonus artedi) mortality in Lake Superior were investigated using a visual foraging model to evaluate potential predation pressure by rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) and a bioenergetic model to evaluate potential starvation risk. The models were informed by observations of rainbow smelt, larval cisco, and zooplankton abundance at three Lake Superior locations during the period of spring larval cisco emergence and surface-oriented foraging. Predation risk was highest at Black Bay, ON, where average rainbow smelt densities in the uppermost 10 m of the water column were >1000 ha−1. Turbid conditions at the Twin Ports, WI-MN, affected larval cisco predation risk because rainbow smelt remained suspended in the upper water column during daylight, placing them alongside larval cisco during both day and night hours. Predation risk was low at Cornucopia, WI, owing to low smelt densities (<400 ha−1) and deep light penetration, which kept rainbow smelt near the lakebed and far from larvae during daylight. In situ zooplankton density estimates were low compared to the values used to develop the larval coregonid bioenergetics model, leading to predictions of negative growth rates for 10 mm larvae at all three locations. The model predicted that 15 mm larvae were capable of attaining positive growth at Cornucopia and the Twin Ports where low water temperatures (2–6 °C) decreased their metabolic costs. Larval prey resources were highest at Black Bay but warmer water temperatures there offset the benefit of increased prey availability. A sensitivity analysis performed on the rainbow smelt visual foraging model showed that it was relatively insensitive, while the coregonid bioenergetics model showed that the absolute growth rate predictions were highly sensitive to input parameters (i.e., 20% parameter perturbation led to order of magnitude differences in model estimates). Our

  10. To dare or not to dare? Risk management by owls in a predator-prey foraging game.

    PubMed

    Embar, Keren; Raveh, Ashael; Burns, Darren; Kotler, Burt P

    2014-07-01

    In a foraging game, predators must catch elusive prey while avoiding injury. Predators manage their hunting success with behavioral tools such as habitat selection, time allocation, and perhaps daring-the willingness to risk injury to increase hunting success. A predator's level of daring should be state dependent: the hungrier it is, the more it should be willing to risk injury to better capture prey. We ask, in a foraging game, will a hungry predator be more willing to risk injury while hunting? We performed an experiment in an outdoor vivarium in which barn owls (Tyto alba) were allowed to hunt Allenby's gerbils (Gerbillus andersoni allenbyi) from a choice of safe and risky patches. Owls were either well fed or hungry, representing the high and low state, respectively. We quantified the owls' patch use behavior. We predicted that hungry owls would be more daring and allocate more time to the risky patches. Owls preferred to hunt in the safe patches. This indicates that owls manage risk of injury by avoiding the risky patches. Hungry owls doubled their attacks on gerbils, but directed the added effort mostly toward the safe patch and the safer, open areas in the risky patch. Thus, owls dared by performing a risky action-the attack maneuver-more times, but only in the safest places-the open areas. We conclude that daring can be used to manage risk of injury and owls implement it strategically, in ways we did not foresee, to minimize risk of injury while maximizing hunting success. PMID:24810326

  11. Parasite predators exhibit a rapid numerical response to increased parasite abundance and reduce transmission to hosts

    PubMed Central

    Hopkins, Skylar R; Wyderko, Jennie A; Sheehy, Robert R; Belden, Lisa K; Wojdak, Jeremy M

    2013-01-01

    Predators of parasites have recently gained attention as important parts of food webs and ecosystems. In aquatic systems, many taxa consume free-living stages of parasites, and can thus reduce parasite transmission to hosts. However, the importance of the functional and numerical responses of parasite predators to disease dynamics is not well understood. We collected host–parasite–predator cooccurrence data from the field, and then experimentally manipulated predator abundance, parasite abundance, and the presence of alternative prey to determine the consequences for parasite transmission. The parasite predator of interest was a ubiquitous symbiotic oligochaete of mollusks, Chaetogaster limnaei limnaei, which inhabits host shells and consumes larval trematode parasites. Predators exhibited a rapid numerical response, where predator populations increased or decreased by as much as 60% in just 5 days, depending on the parasite:predator ratio. Furthermore, snail infection decreased substantially with increasing parasite predator densities, where the highest predator densities reduced infection by up to 89%. Predators of parasites can play an important role in regulating parasite transmission, even when infection risk is high, and especially when predators can rapidly respond numerically to resource pulses. We suggest that these types of interactions might have cascading effects on entire disease systems, and emphasize the importance of considering disease dynamics at the community level. PMID:24340184

  12. Collateral damage or a shadow of safety? The effects of signalling heterospecific neighbours on the risks of parasitism and predation.

    PubMed

    Trillo, Paula A; Bernal, Ximena E; Caldwell, Michael S; Halfwerk, Wouter H; Wessel, Mallory O; Page, Rachel A

    2016-05-25

    Although males often display from mixed-species aggregations, the influence of nearby heterospecifics on risks associated with sexual signalling has not been previously examined. We tested whether predation and parasitism risks depend on proximity to heterospecific signallers. Using field playback experiments with calls of two species that often display from the same ponds, túngara frogs and hourglass treefrogs, we tested two hypotheses: (1) calling near heterospecific signallers attractive to eavesdroppers results in increased attention from predatory bats and parasitic midges (collateral damage hypothesis) or (2) calling near heterospecific signallers reduces an individual's predation and parasitism risks, as eavesdroppers are drawn to the heterospecifics (shadow of safety hypothesis). Bat visitation was not affected by calling neighbours. The number of frog-biting midges attracted to hourglass treefrog calls, however, rose threefold when played near túngara calls, supporting the collateral damage hypothesis. We thus show that proximity to heterospecific signallers can drastically alter both the absolute risks of signalling and the relative strengths of pressures from predation and parasitism. Through these mechanisms, interactions between heterospecific guild members are likely to influence the evolution of signalling strategies and the distribution of species at both local and larger scales. PMID:27194694

  13. Experimental support for the cost-benefit model of lizard thermoregulation: the effects of predation risk and food supply.

    PubMed

    Herczeg, Gábor; Herrero, Annika; Saarikivi, Jarmo; Gonda, Abigél; Jäntti, Maria; Merilä, Juha

    2008-02-01

    Huey and Slatkin's (Q Rev Biol 51:363-384, 1976) cost-benefit model of lizard thermoregulation predicts variation in thermoregulatory strategies (from active thermoregulation to thermoconformity) with respect to the costs and benefits of the thermoregulatory behaviour and the thermal quality of the environment. Although this framework has been widely employed in correlative field studies, experimental tests aiming to evaluate the model are scarce. We conducted laboratory experiments to see whether the common lizard Zootoca vivipara, an active and effective thermoregulator in the field, can alter its thermoregulatory behaviour in response to differences in perceived predation risk and food supply in a constant thermal environment. Predation risk and food supply were represented by chemical cues of a sympatric snake predator and the lizards' food in the laboratory, respectively. We also compared males and postpartum females, which have different preferred or "target" body temperatures. Both sexes thermoregulated actively in all treatments. We detected sex-specific differences in the way lizards adjusted their accuracy of thermoregulation to the treatments: males were less accurate in the predation treatment, while no such effects were detected in females. Neither sex reacted to the food treatment. With regard to the two main types of thermoregulatory behaviour (activity and microhabitat selection), the treatments had no significant effects. However, postpartum females were more active than males in all treatments. Our results further stress that increasing physiological performance by active thermoregulation has high priority in lizard behaviour, but also shows that lizards can indeed shift their accuracy of thermoregulation in response to costs with possible immediate negative fitness effects (i.e. predation-caused mortality). PMID:17985159

  14. Donning your enemy's cloak: ground squirrels exploit rattlesnake scent to reduce predation risk

    PubMed Central

    Clucas, Barbara; Owings, Donald H; Rowe, Matthew P

    2008-01-01

    Ground squirrels (Spermophilus spp.) have evolved a battery of defences against the rattlesnakes (Crotalus spp.) that have preyed on them for millions of years. The distinctive behavioural reactions by these squirrels to rattlesnakes have recently been shown to include self-application of rattlesnake scent—squirrels apply scent by vigorously licking their fur after chewing on shed rattlesnake skins. Here, we present evidence that this behaviour is a novel antipredator defence founded on exploitation of a foreign scent. We tested three functional hypotheses for snake scent application—antipredator, conspecific deterrence and ectoparasite defence—by examining reactions to rattlesnake scent by rattlesnakes, ground squirrels and ectoparasites (fleas). Rattlesnakes were more attracted to ground squirrel scent than to ground squirrel scent mixed with rattlesnake scent or rattlesnake scent alone. However, ground squirrel behaviour and flea host choice were not affected by rattlesnake scent. Thus, ground squirrels can reduce the risk of rattlesnake predation by applying rattlesnake scent to their bodies, potentially as a form of olfactory camouflage. Opportunistic exploitation of heterospecific scents may be widespread; many species self-apply foreign odours, but few such cases have been demonstrated to serve in antipredator defence. PMID:18198147

  15. Manipulated radiographic material--capability and risk for the forensic consultant?

    PubMed

    Du Chesne, A; Benthaus, S; Brinkmann, B

    1999-01-01

    As interest is being increasingly focused on the digital processing of radiographs for identification of the deceased, the benefits and risks of electronic image processing are presented. With digitization of all kinds of radiographic equipment being on the increase and image processing personal computers being readily accessible, increasing quantities of manipulated radiographic material are to be expected in the future. This potential risk is meanwhile highlighted from the legal aspect. PMID:10460429

  16. Temporal variation in site fidelity: scale-dependent effects of forage abundance and predation risk in a non-migratory large herbivore.

    PubMed

    van Beest, F M; Vander Wal, E; Stronen, A V; Paquet, P C; Brook, R K

    2013-10-01

    Large herbivores are typically confronted by considerable spatial and temporal variation in forage abundance and predation risk. Although animals can employ a range of behaviours to balance these limiting factors, scale-dependent movement patterns are expected to be an effective strategy to reduce predation risk and optimise foraging opportunities. We tested this prediction by quantifying site fidelity of global positioning system-collared, non-migratory female elk (Cervus canadensis manitobensis) across multiple nested temporal scales using a long-established elk-wolf (Canis lupus) system in Manitoba, Canada. Using a hierarchical analytical approach, we determined the combined effect of forage abundance and predation risk on variation in site fidelity within four seasons across four nested temporal scales: monthly, biweekly, weekly, daily. Site fidelity of female elk was positively related to forage-rich habitat across all seasons and most temporal scales. At the biweekly, weekly and daily scales, elk became increasingly attached to low forage habitat when risk was high (e.g. when wolves were close or pack sizes were large), which supports the notion that predator-avoidance movements lead to a trade-off between energetic requirements and safety. Unexpectedly, predation risk at the monthly scale increased fidelity, which may indicate that elk use multiple behavioural responses (e.g. movement, vigilance, and aggregation) simultaneously to dilute predation risk, especially at longer temporal scales. Our study clearly shows that forage abundance and predation risk are important scale-dependent determinants of variation in site fidelity of non-migratory female elk and that their combined effect is most apparent at short temporal scales. Insight into the scale-dependent behavioural responses of ungulate populations to limiting factors such as predation risk and forage variability is essential to infer the fitness costs incurred. PMID:23552985

  17. Signal honesty and predation risk among a closely related group of aposematic species.

    PubMed

    María Arenas, Lina; Walter, Dominic; Stevens, Martin

    2015-01-01

    Many animals have bright colours to warn predators that they have defences and are not worth attacking. However, it remains unclear whether the strength of warning colours reliably indicate levels of defence. Few studies have unambiguously established if warning signals are honest, and have rarely considered predator vision or conspicuousness against the background. Importantly, little data exists either on how differences in signal strength translate into survival advantages. Ladybirds exhibit impressive variation in coloration both among and within species. Here we demonstrate that different levels of toxicity exist among and within ladybird species, and that signal contrast against the background is a good predictor of toxicity, showing that the colours are honest signals. Furthermore, field experiments with ladybird models created with regards to predator vision show that models with lower conspicuousness were attacked more frequently. This provides one of the most comprehensive studies on signal honesty in warning coloration to date. PMID:26046332

  18. Signal honesty and predation risk among a closely related group of aposematic species

    PubMed Central

    María Arenas, Lina; Walter, Dominic; Stevens, Martin

    2015-01-01

    Many animals have bright colours to warn predators that they have defences and are not worth attacking. However, it remains unclear whether the strength of warning colours reliably indicate levels of defence. Few studies have unambiguously established if warning signals are honest, and have rarely considered predator vision or conspicuousness against the background. Importantly, little data exists either on how differences in signal strength translate into survival advantages. Ladybirds exhibit impressive variation in coloration both among and within species. Here we demonstrate that different levels of toxicity exist among and within ladybird species, and that signal contrast against the background is a good predictor of toxicity, showing that the colours are honest signals. Furthermore, field experiments with ladybird models created with regards to predator vision show that models with lower conspicuousness were attacked more frequently. This provides one of the most comprehensive studies on signal honesty in warning coloration to date. PMID:26046332

  19. Can Convict Cichlids (Amatitlania siquia) Socially Learn the Degree of Predation Risk Associated with Novel Visual Cues in Their Environment?

    PubMed Central

    Barks, Patrick M.; Godin, Jean-Guy J.

    2013-01-01

    For many animals, the ability to distinguish cues indicative of predation risk from cues unrelated to predation risk is not entirely innate, but rather is learned and improved with experience. Two pathways to such learning are possible. First, an animal could initially express antipredator behaviour toward a wide range of cues and subsequently learn which of those cues are non-threatening. Alternatively, it could initially express no antipredator behaviour toward a wide range of cues and subsequently learn which of them are threatening. While the learned recognition of threatening cues may occur either through personal interaction with a cue (asocial learning) or through observation of the behaviour of social companions toward a cue (social learning), the learned recognition of non-threatening cues seems to occur exclusively through habituation, a form of asocial learning. Here, we tested whether convict cichlid fish (Amatitlaniasiquia) can socially learn to recognize visual cues in their environment as either threatening or non-threatening. We exposed juvenile convict cichlids simultaneously to a novel visual cue and one of three (visual) social cues: a social cue indicative of non-risk (the sight of conspecifics that had previously been habituated to the novel cue), a social cue indicative of predation risk (the sight of conspecifics trained to fear the novel cue), or a control treatment with no social cue. The subsequent response of focal fish, when presented with the novel cue alone, was not influenced by the social cue that they had previously witnessed. We therefore did not find evidence that convict cichlids in our study could use social learning to recognize novel visual cues as either threatening or non-threatening. We consider alternative explanations for our findings. PMID:24086648

  20. Growth rate variation among passerine species in tropical and temperate sites: an antagonistic interaction between parental food provisioning and nest predation risk

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Martin, Thomas E.; Llyod, Penn; Bosque, Carlos; Barton, Daniel C.; Biancucci, Atilio L.; Cheng, Yi-Ru; Ton, Riccardo

    2011-01-01

    Causes of interspecific variation in growth rates within and among geographic regions remain poorly understood. Passerine birds represent an intriguing case because differing theories yield the possibility of an antagonistic interaction between nest predation risk and food delivery rates on evolution of growth rates. We test this possibility among 64 Passerine species studied on three continents, including tropical and north and south temperate latitudes. Growth rates increased strongly with nestling predation rates within, but not between, sites. The importance of nest predation was further emphasized by revealing hidden allometric scaling effects. Nestling predation risk also was associated with reduced total feeding rates and per-nestling feeding rates within each site. Consequently, faster growth rates were associated with decreased per-nestling food delivery rates across species, both within and among regions. These relationships suggest that Passerines can evolve growth strategies in response to predation risk whereby food resources are not the primary limit on growth rate differences among species. In contrast, reaction norms of growth rate relative to brood size suggest that food may limit growth rates within species in temperate, but not tropical, regions. Results here provide new insight into evolution of growth strategies relative to predation risk and food within and among species.

  1. Predation risk, elk, and aspen: tests of a behaviorally mediated trophic cascade in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Winnie, John A

    2012-12-01

    Aspen in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are hypothesized to be recovering from decades of heavy browsing by elk due to a behaviorally mediated trophic cascade (BMTC). Several authors have suggested that wolves interact with certain terrain features, creating places of high predation risk at fine spatial scales, and that elk avoid these places, which creates refugia for plants. This hypothesized BMTC could release aspen from elk browsing pressure, leading to a patchy recovery in places of high risk. I tested whether four specific, hypothesized fine-scale risk factors are correlated with changes in current elk browsing pressure on aspen, or with aspen recruitment since wolf reintroduction, in the Daly Creek drainage in Yellowstone National Park, and near two aspen enclosures outside of the park boundary. Aspen were not responding to hypothesized fine-scale risk factors in ways consistent with the current BMTC hypothesis. PMID:23431591

  2. Reduced predation risk for melanistic pygmy grasshoppers in post-fire environments.

    PubMed

    Karpestam, Einat; Merilaita, Sami; Forsman, Anders

    2012-09-01

    The existence of melanistic (black) color forms in many species represents interesting model systems that have played important roles for our understanding of selective processes, evolution of adaptations, and the maintenance of variation. A recent study reported on rapid evolutionary shifts in frequencies of the melanistic forms in replicated populations of Tetrix subulata pygmy grasshoppers; the incidence of the melanistic form was higher in recently burned areas with backgrounds blackened by fire than in nonburned areas, and it declined over time in postfire environments. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the frequency shifts of the black color variant were driven, at least in part, by changes in the selective regime imposed by visual predators. To study detectability of the melanistic form, we presented human "predators" with images of black grasshoppers and samples of the natural habitat on computer screens. We demonstrate that the protective value of black coloration differs between burnt and nonburnt environments and gradually increases in habitats that have been more blackened by fire. These findings support the notion that a black color pattern provides improved protection from visually oriented predators against blackened backgrounds and implicate camouflage and predation as important drivers of fire melanism in pygmy grasshoppers. PMID:23139879

  3. Predator-Specific Effects on Incubation Behaviour and Offspring Growth in Great Tits

    PubMed Central

    Basso, Alessandra; Richner, Heinz

    2015-01-01

    In birds, different types of predators may target adults or offspring differentially and at different times of the reproductive cycle. Hence they may also differentially influence incubation behaviour and thus embryonic development and offspring phenotype. This is poorly understood, and we therefore performed a study to assess the effects of the presence of either a nest predator or a predator targeting adults and offspring after fledging on female incubation behaviour in great tits (Parus major), and the subsequent effects on offspring morphological traits. We manipulated perceived predation risk during incubation using taxidermic models of two predators: the short-tailed weasel posing a risk to incubating females and nestlings, and the sparrowhawk posing a risk to adults and offspring after fledging. To disentangle treatment effects induced during incubation from potential carry-over effects of parental behaviour after hatching, we cross-fostered whole broods from manipulated nests with broods from unmanipulated nests. Both predator treatments lead to a reduced on- and off-bout frequency, to a slower decline in on-bout temperature as incubation advanced and showed a negative effect on nestling body mass gain. At the current state of knowledge on predator-induced variation in incubation patterns alternative hypotheses are feasible, and the findings of this study will be useful for guiding future research. PMID:25830223

  4. Reciprocal transplant reveals trade-off of resource quality and predation risk in the field.

    PubMed

    Ruehl, Clifton B; Trexler, Joel C

    2015-09-01

    Balancing trade-offs between avoiding predators and acquiring food enables animals to maximize fitness. Quantifying their relative contribution to vital rates in nature is challenging because predator abundance and nutrient enrichment are often confounded. We employed a reciprocal transplant study design to separate these confounded effects on growth and reproduction of snails at wetland sites along a gradient of predator threats and phosphorus (P) enrichment associated with a canal. We held snails in mesh bags that allowed the passage of waterborne predator cues and fed them local or transplanted periphyton. Molluscivores were more abundant near the canal, and snails tethered near the canal suffered 33% greater mortality than those tethered far from it (far sites). The greatest difference in snail growth rates was at the far sites where growth on far periphyton was 48% slower than on P-enriched (near canal) periphyton. Close proximity to the canal reduced growth on near periphyton by 21% compared to growth on the same periphyton far from the canal; there was no difference in growth rate on either periphyton type when snails were raised near the canal. Snails laid 81% more egg masses at far sites than at near sites, regardless of periphyton origin. Top-down and bottom-up processes were elevated near the canal, and their effects canceled on growth, but not reproduction. Phenotypic trade-offs such as these may explain why some taxa show little response to nutrient enrichment, compared to others, or that the effects of nutrient enrichment may be context dependent. PMID:25916894

  5. Reduced predation risk for melanistic pygmy grasshoppers in post-fire environments

    PubMed Central

    Karpestam, Einat; Merilaita, Sami; Forsman, Anders

    2012-01-01

    The existence of melanistic (black) color forms in many species represents interesting model systems that have played important roles for our understanding of selective processes, evolution of adaptations, and the maintenance of variation. A recent study reported on rapid evolutionary shifts in frequencies of the melanistic forms in replicated populations of Tetrix subulata pygmy grasshoppers; the incidence of the melanistic form was higher in recently burned areas with backgrounds blackened by fire than in nonburned areas, and it declined over time in postfire environments. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the frequency shifts of the black color variant were driven, at least in part, by changes in the selective regime imposed by visual predators. To study detectability of the melanistic form, we presented human “predators” with images of black grasshoppers and samples of the natural habitat on computer screens. We demonstrate that the protective value of black coloration differs between burnt and nonburnt environments and gradually increases in habitats that have been more blackened by fire. These findings support the notion that a black color pattern provides improved protection from visually oriented predators against blackened backgrounds and implicate camouflage and predation as important drivers of fire melanism in pygmy grasshoppers. PMID:23139879

  6. Mismatched anti-predator behavioral responses in predator-naïve larval anurans.

    PubMed

    Albecker, Molly; Vance-Chalcraft, Heather D

    2015-01-01

    Organisms are adept at altering behaviors to balance the tradeoff between foraging and predation risk in spatially and temporally shifting predator environments. In order to optimize this tradeoff, prey need to be able to display an appropriate response based on degree of predation risk. To be most beneficial in the earliest life stages in which many prey are vulnerable to predation, innate anti-predator responses should scale to match the risk imposed by predators until learned anti-predator responses can occur. We conducted an experiment that examined whether tadpoles with no previous exposure to predators (i.e., predator-naive) exhibit innate antipredator behavioral responses (e.g., via refuge use and spatial avoidance) that match the actual risk posed by each predator. Using 7 treatments (6 free-roaming, lethal predators plus no-predator control), we determined the predation rates of each predator on Lithobates sphenocephalus tadpoles. We recorded behavioral observations on an additional 7 nonlethal treatments (6 caged predators plus no-predator control). Tadpoles exhibited innate responses to fish predators, but not non-fish predators, even though two non-fish predators (newt and crayfish) consumed the most tadpoles. Due to a mismatch between innate response and predator consumption, tadpoles may be vulnerable to greater rates of predation at the earliest life stages before learning can occur. Thus, naïve tadpoles in nature may be at a high risk to predation in the presence of a novel predator until learned anti-predator responses provide additional defenses to the surviving tadpoles. PMID:26664805

  7. Mismatched anti-predator behavioral responses in predator-naïve larval anurans

    PubMed Central

    Vance-Chalcraft, Heather D.

    2015-01-01

    Organisms are adept at altering behaviors to balance the tradeoff between foraging and predation risk in spatially and temporally shifting predator environments. In order to optimize this tradeoff, prey need to be able to display an appropriate response based on degree of predation risk. To be most beneficial in the earliest life stages in which many prey are vulnerable to predation, innate anti-predator responses should scale to match the risk imposed by predators until learned anti-predator responses can occur. We conducted an experiment that examined whether tadpoles with no previous exposure to predators (i.e., predator-naive) exhibit innate antipredator behavioral responses (e.g., via refuge use and spatial avoidance) that match the actual risk posed by each predator. Using 7 treatments (6 free-roaming, lethal predators plus no-predator control), we determined the predation rates of each predator on Lithobates sphenocephalus tadpoles. We recorded behavioral observations on an additional 7 nonlethal treatments (6 caged predators plus no-predator control). Tadpoles exhibited innate responses to fish predators, but not non-fish predators, even though two non-fish predators (newt and crayfish) consumed the most tadpoles. Due to a mismatch between innate response and predator consumption, tadpoles may be vulnerable to greater rates of predation at the earliest life stages before learning can occur. Thus, naïve tadpoles in nature may be at a high risk to predation in the presence of a novel predator until learned anti-predator responses provide additional defenses to the surviving tadpoles. PMID:26664805

  8. Jurors report that risk measure scores matter in sexually violent predator trials, but that other factors matter more.

    PubMed

    Turner, Darrel B; Boccaccini, Marcus T; Murrie, Daniel C; Harris, Paige B

    2015-02-01

    After deliberating to a verdict, jurors (N = 462) from 40 sexually violent predator (SVP) trials completed a questionnaire asking them to rate the extent to which risk measure scores, diagnoses, expert witness testimony, and offender characteristics described during the trials influenced their commitment decisions. Jurors reported that offenders' sexual offending history, failure to change, and lack of remorse had the strongest influence on their commitment decisions. They reported that testimony about risk instrument scores (e.g., Static-99) and psychopathy had less influence on their decisions, but those who did report being influenced by instrument results were especially likely to view the offender as being at a high risk for reoffending. Overall, findings suggest that SVP jurors view risk measure results as important, but not as important as other offender, offense, and testimony characteristics, including some that have limited relevance to recidivism risk. Thus, findings also suggest that experts may need to better educate jurors regarding factors that do and do not relate to recidivism risk. PMID:25613035

  9. Artificial tritrophic exposure system for environmental risk analysis on aphidophagous predators.

    PubMed

    Paula, Débora P; Souza, Lucas M DE; Andow, David A; Sousa, Alex A T Cortês DE; Pires, Carmen S S; Sujii, Edison R

    2016-09-01

    We evaluated an artificial tritrophic exposure system for use in ecotoxicological evaluations of environmental stressors on aphidophagous predators. It consists of an acrylic tube with a Parafilm M sachet containing liquid aphid diet, into which can be added environmental stressors. Immature Cycloneda sanguinea, Harmonia axyridis and Chrysoperla externa, and adult H. axyridis were reared on Myzus persicae. Larval and pupal development and survival of all species and reproductive parameters of H. axyridis were similar to published results. The system provides a suitable tritrophic exposure route, enables ex-ante evaluation of stressors, and improves the accuracy of the assessment. PMID:27627070

  10. Making the dead talk: alarm cue-mediated antipredator behaviour and learning are enhanced when injured conspecifics experience high predation risk.

    PubMed

    Lucon-Xiccato, Tyrone; Chivers, Douglas P; Mitchell, Matthew D; Ferrari, Maud C O

    2016-08-01

    Due to the costs of antipredator behaviour, prey have the ability to finely modulate their response according to the risk they have experienced, and adjust it over different scales of ecological time. Information on which to base their responses can be obtained from direct experience, but also indirectly from nearby conspecifics. In aquatic environments, alarm cues from injured conspecifics are an important and reliable source of information about current predation risk. We used wood frog tadpoles, Lithobates sylvaticus, to investigate whether prey responses to alarm cues match the level of background predation risk experienced by injured conspecifics. We found that tadpoles exposed to alarm cues from conspecifics raised in a high-risk environment showed a stronger antipredator response and an enhanced learned response to novel predators, when compared with tadpoles exposed to alarm cues from conspecifics raised in a low-risk environment. Alarm cues not only allow prey to cope with an ongoing predation event, but also to adjust their behaviour to match background risk in the environment. PMID:27531160

  11. Predation-associated modulation of movement-based signals by a Bahamian lizard

    PubMed Central

    Steinberg, David S.; Losos, Jonathan B.; Schoener, Thomas W.; Spiller, David A.; Kolbe, Jason J.; Leal, Manuel

    2014-01-01

    Signaling individuals must effectively capture and hold the attention of intended conspecific receivers while limiting eavesdropping by potential predators. A possible mechanism for achieving this balance is for individuals to modulate the physical properties of their signals or to alter the proportion of time spent signaling, depending upon local levels of predation pressure. We test the hypothesis that prey can alter their visual signaling behavior to decrease conspicuousness and potentially limit predation risk via modulation of signal properties or display rate. To do so, we conducted a manipulative experiment in nature to evaluate the possible effect of predation pressure on the physical properties of movement-based signals and on the proportion of time spent signaling by using a well-understood predator–prey system in the Bahamas, the semiarboreal lizard Anolis sagrei, and one of its main predators, the curly-tailed lizard Leiocephalus carinatus. We find that on islands onto which the predator was introduced, male anoles reduce the maximum amplitude of head-bob displays but not the proportion of time spent signaling, in comparison with control islands lacking the predator. This reduction of amplitude also decreases signal active space, which might alter the reproductive success of signaling individuals. We suggest that future studies of predator–prey interactions consider the risk effects generated by changes in signals or signaling behavior to fully determine the influence of predation pressure on the dynamics of prey populations. PMID:24843163

  12. Foraging and refuge use by a pond snail: Effects of physiological state, predators, and resources

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wojdak, Jeremy M.

    2009-09-01

    The costs and benefits of anti-predator behavioral responses should be functions of the actual risk of predation, the availability of the prey's resources, and the physiological state of the prey. For example, a food-stressed individual risks starvation when hiding from predators, while a well-fed organism can better afford to hide (and pay the cost of not foraging). Similarly, the benefits of resource acquisition are probably highest for the prey in the poorest state, while there may be diminishing returns for prey nearing satiation. Empirical studies of state-dependent behavior are only beginning, however, and few studies have investigated interactions between all three potentially important factors. Here I present the results of a laboratory experiment where I manipulated the physiological state of pond snails ( Physa gyrina), the abundance of algal resources, and predation cues ( Belostoma flumineum waterbugs consuming snails) in a full factorial design to assess their direct effects on snail behavior and indirect effects on algal biomass. On average, snails foraged more when resources were abundant, and when predators were absent. Snails also foraged more when previously exposed to physiological stress. Snails spent more time at the water's surface (a refuging behavior) in the presence of predation cues on average, but predation, resource levels, and prey state had interactive effects on refuge use. There was a consistent positive trait-mediated indirect effect of predators on algal biomass, across all resource levels and prey states.

  13. Molecular gut-content analysis of a predator assemblage reveals the effect of habitat manipulation on biological control in the field

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Despite growing evidence that habitat manipulation can alter predators’ impact on target prey consumption, few studies have directly examined the effect of habitat context on conservation biological control in the field. Because of contradictory evidence in the literature for the outcome of habita...

  14. Food availability and predation risk, rather than intrinsic attributes, are the main factors shaping the reproductive decisions of a long-lived predator.

    PubMed

    Hoy, Sarah R; Millon, Alexandre; Petty, Steve J; Whitfield, D Philip; Lambin, Xavier

    2016-07-01

    Deciphering the causes of variation in reproductive success is a fundamental issue in ecology, as the number of offspring produced is an important driver of individual fitness and population dynamics. Little is known, however, about how different factors interact to drive variation in reproduction, such as whether an individual's response to extrinsic conditions (e.g. food availability or predation) varies according to its intrinsic attributes (e.g. age, previous allocation of resources towards reproduction). We used 29 years of reproductive data from marked female tawny owls and natural variation in food availability (field vole) and predator abundance (northern goshawk) to quantify the extent to which extrinsic and intrinsic factors interact to influence owl reproductive traits (breeding propensity, clutch size and nest abandonment). Extrinsic and intrinsic factors appeared to interact to affect breeding propensity (which accounted for 83% of the variation in owl reproductive success). Breeding propensity increased with vole density, although increasing goshawk abundance reduced the strength of this relationship. Owls became slightly more likely to breed as they aged, although this was only apparent for individuals who had fledged chicks the year before. Owls laid larger clutches when food was more abundant. When owls were breeding in territories less exposed to goshawk predation, 99·5% of all breeding attempts reached the fledging stage. In contrast, the probability of breeding attempts reaching the fledging stage in territories more exposed to goshawk predation depended on the amount of resources an owl had already allocated towards reproduction (averaging 87·7% for owls with clutches of 1-2 eggs compared to 97·5% for owls with clutches of 4-6 eggs). Overall, our results suggested that changes in extrinsic conditions (predominantly food availability, but also predator abundance) had the greatest influence on owl reproduction. In response to deteriorating

  15. Florida's Sexually Violent Predator Program: An Examination of Risk and Civil Commitment Eligibility

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lucken, Karol; Bales, William

    2008-01-01

    Sex offender civil commitment (SOCC) has been enacted in 16 states amid widespread controversy. A critical component of civil commitment is the risk assessment process that determines recommendations for civil confinement once a prison term has expired. This study analyzes the first stage of a two-stage risk assessment process that determines…

  16. An experimental conflict of interest between parasites reveals the mechanism of host manipulation

    PubMed Central

    Milinski, Manfred

    2016-01-01

    Parasites can increase their host’s predation susceptibility. It is a long-standing puzzle, whether this is caused by host manipulation, an evolved strategy of the parasite, or by side effects due to, for example, the parasite consuming energy from its host thereby changing the host’s trade-off between avoiding predation and foraging toward foraging. Here, we use sequential infection of three-spined sticklebacks with the cestode Schistocephalus solidus so that parasites have a conflict of interest over the direction of host manipulation. With true manipulation, the not yet infective parasite should reduce rather than enhance risk taking because predation would be fatal for its fitness; if host behavior is changed by a side effect, the 2 parasites would add their increase of predation risk because both drain energy. Our results support the latter hypothesis. In an additional experiment, we tested both infected and uninfected fish either starved or satiated. True host manipulation should act independently of the fish’s hunger status and continue when energy drain is balanced through satiation. Starvation and satiation affect the risk averseness of infected sticklebacks similarly to that of uninfected starved and satiated ones. Increased energy drain rather than active host manipulation dominates behavioral changes of S. solidus-infected sticklebacks. PMID:27004014

  17. Reliability of Risk Assessment Measures Used in Sexually Violent Predator Proceedings

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Miller, Cailey S.; Kimonis, Eva R.; Otto, Randy K.; Kline, Suzonne M.; Wasserman, Adam L.

    2012-01-01

    The field interrater reliability of three assessment tools frequently used by mental health professionals when evaluating sex offenders' risk for reoffending--the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), the Minnesota Sex Offender Screening Tool-Revised (MnSOST-R) and the Static-99--was examined within the context of sexually violent predator…

  18. Rats and Seabirds: Effects of Egg Size on Predation Risk and the Potential of Conditioned Taste Aversion as a Mitigation Method

    PubMed Central

    Latorre, Lucía; Larrinaga, Asier R.; Santamaría, Luis

    2013-01-01

    Seabirds nesting on islands are threatened by invasive rodents, such as mice and rats, which may attack eggs, chicks and even adults. The low feasibility of rat eradications on many islands makes the development of alternate control plans necessary. We used a combination of field experiments on a Mediterranean island invaded by black rats (Rattusrattus) to evaluate (1) the predation risk posed to different-sized seabird eggs and (2), the potential of two deterrent methods (electronic and chemical) to reduce its impact. Rats were able to consume eggs of all sizes (12 to 68 g), but survival increased 13 times from the smallest to the largest eggs (which also had more resistant eggshells). Extrapolation to seabird eggs suggests that the smallest species (Hydrobatespelagicus) suffer the most severe predation risk, but even the largest (Larusmichahellis) could suffer >60% mortality. Nest attack was not reduced by the deterrents. However, chemical deterrence (conditioned taste aversion by lithium chloride) slowed the increase in predation rate over time, which resulted in a three-fold increase in egg survival to predation as compared to both control and electronic deterrence. At the end of the experimental period, this effect was confirmed by a treatment swap, which showed that conferred protection remains at least 15 days after cessation of the treatment. Results indicate that small seabird species are likely to suffer severe rates of nest predation by rats and that conditioned taste aversion, but not electronic repellents, may represent a suitable method to protect colonies when eradication or control is not feasible or cost-effective. PMID:24058712

  19. Landscape heterogeneity shapes predation in a newly restored predator-prey system

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kauffman, M.J.; Varley, N.; Smith, D.W.; Stahler, D.R.; MacNulty, D.R.; Boyce, M.S.

    2007-01-01

    Because some native ungulates have lived without top predators for generations, it has been uncertain whether runaway predation would occur when predators are newly restored to these systems. We show that landscape features and vegetation, which influence predator detection and capture of prey, shape large-scale patterns of predation in a newly restored predator-prey system. We analysed the spatial distribution of wolf (Canis lupus) predation on elk (Cervus elaphus) on the Northern Range of Yellowstone National Park over 10 consecutive winters. The influence of wolf distribution on kill sites diminished over the course of this study, a result that was likely caused by territorial constraints on wolf distribution. In contrast, landscape factors strongly influenced kill sites, creating distinct hunting grounds and prey refugia. Elk in this newly restored predator-prey system should be able to mediate their risk of predation by movement and habitat selection across a heterogeneous risk landscape. ?? 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  20. Effects of hatchery fish density on emigration, growth, survival, and predation risk of natural steelhead parr in an experimental stream channel

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tatara, Christopher P.; Riley, Stephen C.; Berejikian, Barry A.

    2011-01-01

    Hatchery supplementation of steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss raises concerns about the impacts on natural populations, including reduced growth and survival, displacement, and increased predation. The potential risks may be density dependent.We examined how hatchery stocking density and the opportunity to emigrate affect the responses of natural steelhead parr in an experimental stream channel and after 15 d found no density-dependent effects on growth, emigration, or survival at densities ranging from 1-6 hatchery parr/m2. The opportunity for steelhead parr to emigrate reduced predation by coastal cutthroat trout O. clarkii clarkii on both hatchery and natural steelhead parr. The cutthroat trout exhibited a type-I functional response (constant predation rate with increased prey density) for the hatchery and composite populations. In contrast, the predation rate on natural parr decreased as hatchery stocking density increased. Supplementation with hatchery parr at any experimental stocking density reduced the final natural parr density. This decline was explained by increased emigration fromthe supplemented groups. Natural parr had higher mean instantaneous growth rates than hatchery parr. The proportion of parr emigrating decreased as parr size increased over successive experimental trials. Smaller parr had lower survival and suffered higher predation. The final density of the composite population, a measure of supplementation effectiveness, increased with the hatchery steelhead stocking rate. Our results indicate that stocking larger hatchery parr (over 50 d postemergence) at densities within the carrying capacity would have low short-term impact on the growth, survival, and emigration of natural parr while increasing the density of the composite population; in addition, a stocking density greater than 3 fish/m2 might be a good starting point for the evaluation of parr stocking in natural streams.

  1. Power lines, roads, and avian nest survival: effects on predator identity and predation intensity.

    PubMed

    DeGregorio, Brett A; Weatherhead, Patrick J; Sperry, Jinelle H

    2014-05-01

    1 Anthropogenic alteration of landscapes can affect avian nest success by influencing the abundance, distribution, and behavior of predators. Understanding avian nest predation risk necessitates understanding how landscapes affect predator distribution and behavior. 2 From a sample of 463 nests of 17 songbird species, we evaluated how landscape features (distance to forest edge, unpaved roads, and power lines) influenced daily nest survival. We also used video cameras to identify nest predators at 137 nest predation events and evaluated how landscape features influenced predator identity. Finally, we determined the abundance and distribution of several of the principal predators using surveys and radiotelemetry. 3 Distance to power lines was the best predictor of predator identity: predation by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater), corvids (Corvus sp. and Cyanocitta cristata), racers (Coluber constrictor), and coachwhips (Masticophis flagellum) increased with proximity to power lines, whereas predation by rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta) and raptors decreased. In some cases, predator density may reliably indicate nest predation risk because racers, corvids, and cowbirds frequently used power line right-of-ways. 4 Of five bird species with enough nests to analyze individually, daily nest survival of only indigo buntings (Passerina cyanea) decreased with proximity to power lines, despite predation by most predators at our site being positively associated with power lines. For all nesting species combined, distance to unpaved road was the model that most influenced daily nest survival. This pattern is likely a consequence of rat snakes, the locally dominant nest predator (28% of predation events), rarely using power lines and associated areas. Instead, rat snakes were frequently associated with road edges, indicating that not all edges are functionally similar. 5 Our results suggest that interactions between predators and landscape features are likely to be specific to

  2. Power lines, roads, and avian nest survival: effects on predator identity and predation intensity

    PubMed Central

    DeGregorio, Brett A; Weatherhead, Patrick J; Sperry, Jinelle H

    2014-01-01

    1 Anthropogenic alteration of landscapes can affect avian nest success by influencing the abundance, distribution, and behavior of predators. Understanding avian nest predation risk necessitates understanding how landscapes affect predator distribution and behavior. 2 From a sample of 463 nests of 17 songbird species, we evaluated how landscape features (distance to forest edge, unpaved roads, and power lines) influenced daily nest survival. We also used video cameras to identify nest predators at 137 nest predation events and evaluated how landscape features influenced predator identity. Finally, we determined the abundance and distribution of several of the principal predators using surveys and radiotelemetry. 3 Distance to power lines was the best predictor of predator identity: predation by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater), corvids (Corvus sp. and Cyanocitta cristata), racers (Coluber constrictor), and coachwhips (Masticophis flagellum) increased with proximity to power lines, whereas predation by rat snakes (Elaphe obsoleta) and raptors decreased. In some cases, predator density may reliably indicate nest predation risk because racers, corvids, and cowbirds frequently used power line right-of-ways. 4 Of five bird species with enough nests to analyze individually, daily nest survival of only indigo buntings (Passerina cyanea) decreased with proximity to power lines, despite predation by most predators at our site being positively associated with power lines. For all nesting species combined, distance to unpaved road was the model that most influenced daily nest survival. This pattern is likely a consequence of rat snakes, the locally dominant nest predator (28% of predation events), rarely using power lines and associated areas. Instead, rat snakes were frequently associated with road edges, indicating that not all edges are functionally similar. 5 Our results suggest that interactions between predators and landscape features are likely to be specific to

  3. What do predators really want? The role of gerbil energetic state in determining prey choice by Barn Owls.

    PubMed

    Embar, Keren; Mukherjee, Shomen; Kotler, Burt P

    2014-02-01

    In predator-prey foraging games, predators should respond to variations in prey state. The value of energy for the prey changes depending on season. Prey in a low energetic state and/or in a reproductive state should invest more in foraging and tolerate higher predation risk. This should make the prey more catchable, and thereby, more preferable to predators. We ask, can predators respond to prey state? How does season and state affect the foraging game from the predator's perspective? By letting owls choose between gerbils whose states we experimentally manipulated, we could demonstrate predator sensitivity to prey state and predator selectivity that otherwise may be obscured by the foraging game. During spring, owls invested more time and attacks in the patch with well-fed gerbils. During summer, owls attacked both patches equally, yet allocated more time to the patch with hungry gerbils. Energetic state per se does not seem to be the basis of owl choice. The owls strongly responded to these subtle differences. In summer, gerbils managed their behavior primarily for survival, and the owls equalized capture opportunities by attacking both patches equally. PMID:24669722

  4. Intraguild predation and competition impacts on a subordinate predator.

    PubMed

    Björklund, Heidi; Santangeli, Andrea; Blanchet, F Guillaume; Huitu, Otso; Lehtoranta, Hannu; Lindén, Harto; Valkama, Jari; Laaksonen, Toni

    2016-05-01

    Intraguild (IG) predation and interspecific competition may affect the settlement and success of species in their habitats. Using data on forest-dwelling hawks from Finland, we addressed the impact of an IG predator, the northern goshawk Accipiter gentilis (goshawk), on the breeding of an IG prey, the common buzzard Buteo buteo. We hypothesized that the subordinate common buzzard avoids breeding in the proximity of goshawks and that interspecific competitors, mainly Strix owls, may also disturb common buzzards by competing for nests and food. Our results show that common buzzards more frequently occupied territories with a low IG predation threat and with no interspecific competitors. We also observed that common buzzards avoided territories with high levels of grouse, the main food of goshawks, possibly due to a risk of IG predation since abundant grouse can attract goshawks. High levels of small rodents attracted interspecific competitors to common buzzard territories and created a situation where there was not only an abundance of food but also an abundance of competitors for the food. These results suggest interplay between top-down and bottom-up processes which influence the interactions between avian predator species. We conclude that the common buzzard needs to balance the risks of IG predation and interference competition with the availability of its own resources. The presence of other predators associated with high food levels may impede a subordinate predator taking full advantage of the available food. Based on our results, it appears that interspecific interactions with dominant predators have the potential to influence the distribution pattern of subordinate predators. PMID:26841931

  5. Landscape-scale accessibility of livestock to tigers: implications of spatial grain for modeling predation risk to mitigate human-carnivore conflict.

    PubMed

    Miller, Jennifer R B; Jhala, Yadvendradev V; Jena, Jyotirmay; Schmitz, Oswald J

    2015-03-01

    Innovative conservation tools are greatly needed to reduce livelihood losses and wildlife declines resulting from human-carnivore conflict. Spatial risk modeling is an emerging method for assessing the spatial patterns of predator-prey interactions, with applications for mitigating carnivore attacks on livestock. Large carnivores that ambush prey attack and kill over small areas, requiring models at fine spatial grains to predict livestock depredation hot spots. To detect the best resolution for predicting where carnivores access livestock, we examined the spatial attributes associated with livestock killed by tigers in Kanha Tiger Reserve, India, using risk models generated at 20, 100, and 200-m spatial grains. We analyzed land-use, human presence, and vegetation structure variables at 138 kill sites and 439 random sites to identify key landscape attributes where livestock were vulnerable to tigers. Land-use and human presence variables contributed strongly to predation risk models, with most variables showing high relative importance (≥0.85) at all spatial grains. The risk of a tiger killing livestock increased near dense forests and near the boundary of the park core zone where human presence is restricted. Risk was nonlinearly related to human infrastructure and open vegetation, with the greatest risk occurring 1.2 km from roads, 1.1 km from villages, and 8.0 km from scrubland. Kill sites were characterized by denser, patchier, and more complex vegetation with lower visibility than random sites. Risk maps revealed high-risk hot spots inside of the core zone boundary and in several patches in the human-dominated buffer zone. Validation against known kills revealed predictive accuracy for only the 20 m model, the resolution best representing the kill stage of hunting for large carnivores that ambush prey, like the tiger. Results demonstrate that risk models developed at fine spatial grains can offer accurate guidance on landscape attributes livestock should

  6. Predator Arithmetic

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Shutler, Paul M. E.; Fong, Ng Swee

    2010-01-01

    Modern Hindu-Arabic numeration is the end result of a long period of evolution, and is clearly superior to any system that has gone before, but is it optimal? We compare it to a hypothetical base 5 system, which we dub Predator arithmetic, and judge which of the two systems is superior from a mathematics education point of view. We find that…

  7. Pasta Predation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Waugh, Michael L.

    1986-01-01

    Presents a predator-prey simulation which involves students in collecting data, solving problems, and making predictions on the evolution of prey populations. Provides directives on how to perform the chi-square test and also includes an Applesoft BASK program that performs the calculations. (ML)

  8. Female Preference and Predation Risk Models Can Explain the Maintenance of a Fallow Deer (Dama dama) Lek and Its ‘Handy’ Location

    PubMed Central

    Apollonio, Marco; De Cena, Fabio; Bongi, Paolo; Ciuti, Simone

    2014-01-01

    We tested the predictions of three models (female preference; hotspot; predator avoidance) on lek formation in the fallow deer population of San Rossore, Tuscany. We collected behavioural observations in two leks and radiotracking data on 67 deer over 7 years. Two deer sub-populations were present in the northern and southern sides of the area, respectively, the two sectors being delimited by a river and including one lek each. Predictions were tested for one lek (SG), located in the south-side where we set up our 7-year radiotracking program. Data from a second lek (FO, north-side) were used to test those predictions which imply the occurrence of multiple leks in the same population. We showed that the majority of females made one single visit to one lek, only during the rut. The lek was located outside areas of higher female traffic and home range overlap, and females increased home range sizes during the rut to reach it. Twilight routes of females never crossed the lek; instead, females walked atypical routes and at a faster pace to reach the lek and mate. The distance between the two leks was higher than the average diameter of female home ranges, and only one lek was present within female home ranges. Males reached the lek one month before the arrival of females, corroborating that lekking is a female-initiated process (females moving towards large clumped male aggregations) rather than a male-initiated process (males moving towards female hotspots). Our results supported the female preference model, and rejected the predictions of the hotspot model. Also, leks were located far from areas with higher predation risk, supporting the predator avoidance model. The position of lek SG resulted ‘handy’ at the sub-population level because of the optimal trade-off between travel costs for females to reach it and avoidance of human predators. PMID:24599036

  9. In the eyes of the beholders: Female choice and avian predation risk associated with an exaggerated male butterfly color.

    PubMed

    Morehouse, Nathan I; Rutowski, Ronald L

    2010-12-01

    Color ornaments are often viewed as products of countervailing sexual and natural selection, because more colorful, more attractive individuals may also be more conspicuous to predators. However, while evidence for such countervailing selection exists for vertebrate color ornaments (e.g., Trinidadian guppies), similar studies have yet to be reported in invertebrates. Indeed, evidence for female mate choice based on extant variation in male coloration is limited in invertebrates, and researchers have not explicitly asked whether more attractive males are also more conspicuous to predators. Here we provide evidence that more chromatic male cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae) are more attractive to females but should also be more conspicuous to predators. Female P. rapae preferentially mate with more chromatic males when choosing from populations of males with naturally occurring or commensurate, experimentally induced color variation. Mathematical models of female color vision confirm that females should be able to discriminate color differences between prospective mates. Further, chromatic and luminance contrast scores from female visual system models better predicted male mating success than did measures of male color derived more directly from color spectra. Last, models of avian color vision suggest that preferred males should be more conspicuous to known avian predators. PMID:20942644

  10. Egg Load Decreases Mobility and Increases Predation Risk in Female Black-Horned Tree Crickets (Oecanthus nigricornis)

    PubMed Central

    Ercit, Kyla; Martinez-Novoa, Andrew; Gwynne, Darryl T.

    2014-01-01

    Female-biased predation is an uncommon phenomenon in nature since males of many species take on riskier behaviours to gain more mates. Several species of sphecid wasps have been observed taking more female than male prey, and it is not fully understood why. The solitary sphecid Isodontia mexicana catches more adult female tree cricket (Oecanthus nigricornis) prey. Previous work has shown that, although female tree crickets are larger and thus likely to be more valuable as prey than males, body size alone cannot fully explain why wasps take more females. We tested the hypothesis that wasps catch adult female tree crickets more often because bearing eggs impedes a female’s ability to escape predation. We compared female survivors to prey of I. mexicana, and found that females carrying more eggs were significantly more likely to be caught by wasps, regardless of their body size and jumping leg mass. We also conducted laboratory experiments where females’ jumping responses to a simulated attack were measured and compared to her egg load and morphology. We found a significant negative relationship between egg load and jumping ability, and a positive relationship between body size and jumping ability. These findings support the hypothesis that ovarian eggs are a physical handicap that contributes to female-biased predation in this system. Predation on the most fecund females may have ecological-evolutionary consequences such as collapse of prey populations or selection for alternate life history strategies and behaviours. PMID:25330090

  11. Sublethal effects of catch-and-release fishing: measuring capture stress, fish impairment, and predation risk using a condition index

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Campbell, Matthew D.; Patino, Reynaldo; Tolan, J.M.; Strauss, R.E.; Diamond, S.

    2009-01-01

    The sublethal effects of simulated capture of red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) were analysed using physiological responses, condition indexing, and performance variables. Simulated catch-and-release fishing included combinations of depth of capture and thermocline exposure reflective of environmental conditions experienced in the Gulf of Mexico. Frequency of occurrence of barotrauma and lack of reflex response exhibited considerable individual variation. When combined into a single condition or impairment index, individual variation was reduced, and impairment showed significant increases as depth increased and with the addition of thermocline exposure. Performance variables, such as burst swimming speed (BSS) and simulated predator approach distance (AD), were also significantly different by depth. BSSs and predator ADs decreased with increasing depth, were lowest immediately after release, and were affected for up to 15 min, with longer recovery times required as depth increased. The impairment score developed was positively correlated with cortisol concentration and negatively correlated with both BSS and simulated predator AD. The impairment index proved to be an efficient method to estimate the overall impairment of red snapper in the laboratory simulations of capture and shows promise for use in field conditions, to estimate release mortality and vulnerability to predation.

  12. Do Carolina chickadees (Poecile carolinensis) and tufted titmice (Baeolophus bicolor) attend to the head or body orientation of a perched avian predator?

    PubMed

    Kyle, Steven C; Freeberg, Todd M

    2016-05-01

    Individuals of many prey species adjust their foraging behavior in response to the presence of a predator. Responding to predators takes time away from searching for and exploiting food resources. To balance between the need to avoid predation and the need to forage, individuals should attend to cues from predators that indicate risk. Two such cues might be the predator's head orientation (where it might be looking) and body orientation (where it might be moving). In the current study, flocks of Carolina chickadees, Poecile carolinensis, and tufted titmice, Baeolophus bicolor, were presented with perched hawk and owl models. Predator model head and body orientation were independently manipulated relative to a feeding station birds were using. Chickadees and titmice avoided the feeders more when the heads of the models were facing toward the feeders compared to facing away from the feeders. Calling behavior of birds was also affected by head orientation of the models. No effect of predator body orientation on chickadee and titmouse behavior was detected. The results indicate that when chickadees and titmice detect a perched avian predator, they assess risk primarily based upon its head orientation. (PsycINFO Database Record PMID:27195595

  13. Top predators and habitat complexity alter an intraguild predation module in pond communities.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Thomas L; Semlitsch, Raymond D

    2016-03-01

    Predator diversity and habitat complexity frequently influence species interactions at lower trophic levels, yet their joint investigation has been performed infrequently despite the demonstrated importance of each individual factor. We investigated how different top predators and varying habitat complexity influence the function of an intraguild predation module consisting of two larval salamanders, intraguild predator Ambystoma annulatum and intraguild prey A. maculatum. We manipulated predator food webs and habitat complexity in outdoor mesocosms. Top predators significantly influenced body condition and survival of A. annulatum, but habitat complexity had minimal effects on either response. A three-way interaction among the covariates top predator identity, habitat complexity and A. annulatum survival influenced body condition and survival of A. maculatum via a density-mediated indirect effect. Different top predator combinations had variable effects in different habitat complexity treatments on intraguild predator (A. annulatum) survival that subsequently influenced intraguild prey (A. maculatum) body condition and survival. Future work should consider how different top predators influence other food web components, which should vary due to predator attributes and the physical environments in which they co-occur. PMID:26476095

  14. Spatial heterogeneity in the strength of plant-herbivore interactions under predation risk: the tale of bison foraging in wolf country.

    PubMed

    Harvey, Léa; Fortin, Daniel

    2013-01-01

    Spatial heterogeneity in the strength of trophic interactions is a fundamental property of food web spatial dynamics. The feeding effort of herbivores should reflect adaptive decisions that only become rewarding when foraging gains exceed 1) the metabolic costs, 2) the missed opportunity costs of not foraging elsewhere, and 3) the foraging costs of anti-predator behaviour. Two aspects of these costs remain largely unexplored: the link between the strength of plant-herbivore interactions and the spatial scale of food-quality assessment, and the predator-prey spatial game. We modeled the foraging effort of free-ranging plains bison (Bison bison bison) in winter, within a mosaic of discrete meadows. Spatial patterns of bison herbivory were largely driven by a search for high net energy gains and, to a lesser degree, by the spatial game with grey wolves (Canis lupus). Bison decreased local feeding effort with increasing metabolic and missed opportunity costs. Bison herbivory was most consistent with a broad-scale assessment of food patch quality, i.e., bison grazed more intensively in patches with a low missed opportunity cost relative to other patches available in the landscape. Bison and wolves had a higher probability of using the same meadows than expected randomly. This co-occurrence indicates wolves are ahead in the spatial game they play with bison. Wolves influenced bison foraging at fine scale, as bison tended to consume less biomass at each feeding station when in meadows where the risk of a wolf's arrival was relatively high. Also, bison left more high-quality vegetation in large than small meadows. This behavior does not maximize their energy intake rate, but is consistent with bison playing a shell game with wolves. Our assessment of bison foraging in a natural setting clarifies the complex nature of plant-herbivore interactions under predation risk, and reveals how spatial patterns in herbivory emerge from multi-scale landscape heterogeneity. PMID

  15. Spatial Heterogeneity in the Strength of Plant-Herbivore Interactions under Predation Risk: The Tale of Bison Foraging in Wolf Country

    PubMed Central

    Harvey, Léa; Fortin, Daniel

    2013-01-01

    Spatial heterogeneity in the strength of trophic interactions is a fundamental property of food web spatial dynamics. The feeding effort of herbivores should reflect adaptive decisions that only become rewarding when foraging gains exceed 1) the metabolic costs, 2) the missed opportunity costs of not foraging elsewhere, and 3) the foraging costs of anti-predator behaviour. Two aspects of these costs remain largely unexplored: the link between the strength of plant-herbivore interactions and the spatial scale of food-quality assessment, and the predator-prey spatial game. We modeled the foraging effort of free-ranging plains bison (Bison bison bison) in winter, within a mosaic of discrete meadows. Spatial patterns of bison herbivory were largely driven by a search for high net energy gains and, to a lesser degree, by the spatial game with grey wolves (Canis lupus). Bison decreased local feeding effort with increasing metabolic and missed opportunity costs. Bison herbivory was most consistent with a broad-scale assessment of food patch quality, i.e., bison grazed more intensively in patches with a low missed opportunity cost relative to other patches available in the landscape. Bison and wolves had a higher probability of using the same meadows than expected randomly. This co-occurrence indicates wolves are ahead in the spatial game they play with bison. Wolves influenced bison foraging at fine scale, as bison tended to consume less biomass at each feeding station when in meadows where the risk of a wolf's arrival was relatively high. Also, bison left more high-quality vegetation in large than small meadows. This behavior does not maximize their energy intake rate, but is consistent with bison playing a shell game with wolves. Our assessment of bison foraging in a natural setting clarifies the complex nature of plant-herbivore interactions under predation risk, and reveals how spatial patterns in herbivory emerge from multi-scale landscape heterogeneity. PMID

  16. Testing ecological and behavioral correlates of nest predation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fontaine, J.J.; Martel, M.; Markland, H.M.; Niklison, Alina M.; Decker, Karie L.; Martin, T.E.

    2007-01-01

    Variation in nest predation rates among bird species are assumed to reflect differences in risk that are specific to particular nest sites. Theoretical and empirical studies suggest that parental care behaviors can evolve in response to nest predation risk and thereby differ among ecological conditions that vary in inherent risk. However, parental care also can influence predation risk. Separating the effects of nest predation risk inherent to a nest site from the risk imposed by parental strategies is needed to understand the evolution of parental care. Here we identify correlations between risks inherent to nest sites, and risk associated with parental care behaviors, and use an artificial nest experiment to assess site-specific differences in nest predation risk across nesting guilds and between habitats that differed in nest predator abundance. We found a strong correlation between parental care behaviors and inherent differences in nest predation risk, but despite the absence of parental care at artificial nests, patterns of nest predation risk were similar for real and artificial nests both across nesting guilds and between predator treatments. Thus, we show for the first time that inherent risk of nest predation varies with nesting guild and predator abundance independent of parental care. ?? Oikos.

  17. Predator-prey interactions mediated by prey personality and predator hunting mode.

    PubMed

    Belgrad, Benjamin A; Griffen, Blaine D

    2016-04-13

    Predator-prey interactions are important drivers in structuring ecological communities. However, despite widespread acknowledgement that individual behaviours and predator species regulate ecological processes, studies have yet to incorporate individual behavioural variations in a multipredator system. We quantified a prevalent predator avoidance behaviour to examine the simultaneous roles of prey personality and predator hunting mode in governing predator-prey interactions. Mud crabs, Panopeus herbstii, reduce their activity levels and increase their refuge use in the presence of predator cues. We measured mud crab mortality and consistent individual variations in the strength of this predator avoidance behaviour in the presence of predatory blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, and toadfish, Opsanus tau We found that prey personality and predator species significantly interacted to affect mortality with blue crabs primarily consuming bold mud crabs and toadfish preferentially selecting shy crabs. Additionally, the strength of the predator avoidance behaviour depended upon the predation risk from the predator species. Consequently, the personality composition of populations and predator hunting mode may be valuable predictors of both direct and indirect predator-prey interaction strength. These findings support theories postulating mechanisms for maintaining intraspecies diversity and have broad implications for community dynamics. PMID:27075257

  18. Age and sex-selective predation moderate the overall impact of predators.

    PubMed

    Hoy, Sarah R; Petty, Steve J; Millon, Alexandre; Whitfield, D Philip; Marquiss, Michael; Davison, Martin; Lambin, Xavier

    2015-05-01

    Currently, there is no general agreement about the extent to which predators impact prey population dynamics and it is often poorly predicted by predation rates and species abundances. This could, in part be caused by variation in the type of selective predation occurring. Notably, if predation is selective on categories of individuals that contribute little to future generations, it may moderate the impact of predation on prey population dynamics. However, despite its prevalence, selective predation has seldom been studied in this context. Using recoveries of ringed tawny owls (Strix aluco) predated by 'superpredators', northern goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) as they colonized the area, we investigated the extent to which predation was sex and age-selective. Predation of juvenile owls was disproportionately high. Amongst adults, predation was strongly biased towards females and predation risk appeared to increase with age. This implies age-selective predation may shape the decline in survival with age, observed in tawny owls. To determine whether selective predation can modulate the overall impact of predation, age-based population matrix models were used to simulate the impact of five different patterns of age-selective predation, including the pattern actually observed in the study site. The overall impact on owl population size varied by up to 50%, depending on the pattern of selective predation. The simulation of the observed pattern of predation had a relatively small impact on population size, close to the least harmful scenario, predation on juveniles only. The actual changes in owl population size and structure observed during goshawk colonization were also analysed. Owl population size and immigration were unrelated to goshawk abundance. However, goshawk abundance appeared to interact with owl food availability to have a delayed effect on recruitment into the population. This study provides strong evidence to suggest that predation of other predators is

  19. Predator-induced neophobia in juvenile cichlids.

    PubMed

    Meuthen, Denis; Baldauf, Sebastian A; Bakker, Theo C M; Thünken, Timo

    2016-08-01

    Predation is an important but often fluctuating selection factor for prey animals. Accordingly, individuals plastically adopt antipredator strategies in response to current predation risk. Recently, it was proposed that predation risk also plastically induces neophobia (an antipredator response towards novel cues). Previous studies, however, do not allow a differentiation between general neophobia and sensory channel-specific neophobic responses. Therefore, we tested the neophobia hypothesis focusing on adjustment in shoaling behavior in response to a novel cue addressing a different sensory channel than the one from which predation risk was initially perceived. From hatching onwards, juveniles of the cichlid Pelvicachromis taeniatus were exposed to different chemical cues in a split-clutch design: conspecific alarm cues which signal predation risk and heterospecific alarm cues or distilled water as controls. At 2 months of age, their shoaling behavior was examined prior and subsequent to a tactical disturbance cue. We found that fish previously exposed to predation risk formed more compact shoals relative to the control groups in response to the novel disturbance cue. Moreover, the relationship between shoal density and shoal homogeneity was also affected by experienced predation risk. Our findings indicate predator-induced, increased cross-sensory sensitivity towards novel cues making neophobia an effective antipredator mechanism. PMID:26578223

  20. The influence of herd size, conspecific risk, and predation risk on the vigilance of elk (Cervus elaphus) in Yellowstone National Park, and, Interest, learning, and a thematic biology course

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lung, Mark A.

    This dissertation is a composite of biological and educational research. The biological research concerns Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus ) behavior. The educational research presents ideas and findings on the influence of a thematic general biology course on student interest and perception of learning. The dissertation begins with a Preface that attempts to bring the ideas presented in later chapters together. Chapter One is a review of the literature concerning sociality, social behaviors, and elk biology. It summarizes current research literature as a means of introduction to Chapter Two. Chapter Two presents findings concerning the effects of herd size, predation risk, and the risk of being near conspecifics on two behaviors commonly associated with social animals---vigilance and aggression. Vigilance and aggression were measured in elk in Yellowstone National Park in two regions that varied in their presence of elk predators (wolves---Canis lupus, and grizzly bears---Ursus arctos) and in two seasons (spring and fall) that varied in the risks of being near conspecifics. Overall, male and female elk responded very differently. Male elk adjust their vigilance and aggression in response to changes in conspecific risk, but not to changes in predation risk. Female elk adjust their vigilance in response to changes in predation risk, but not to changes in conspecific risk. Males show no response in vigilance to changes in herd size. Non-reproductive females, however, adjust their levels of vigilance with changes in herd size in high risk regions. Interestingly, in the spring, vigilance decreases with increasing herd size, but in the fall, vigilance increases with increasing herd size. Chapter Three presents findings concerning the influence of a thematic course design on student perceptions of interest and teaming in a non-major's biology course (Bins 100: Concepts of Biology). I compared responses on student evaluations from two sections of Bios 100 taught in a

  1. Predators and Prey

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kramm, Kenneth R.

    1975-01-01

    Reviews basic concepts of predator-prey interaction, encourages the presentation of the predator's role and describes a model of predator behavior to be used in secondary school or college classes. (LS)

  2. Stress and success: individual differences in the glucocorticoid stress response predict behavior and reproductive success under high predation risk.

    PubMed

    Vitousek, Maren N; Jenkins, Brittany R; Safran, Rebecca J

    2014-11-01

    A fundamental element of how vertebrates respond to stressors is by rapidly elevating circulating glucocorticoid hormones. Individual variation in the magnitude of the glucocorticoid stress response has been linked with reproductive success and survival. But while the adaptive value of this response is believed to stem in part from changes in the expression of hormone-mediated behaviors, it is not clear how the behavior of stronger and weaker glucocorticoid responders differs during reproduction, or during exposure to ecologically relevant stressors. Here we report that in a population of barn swallows (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster) experiencing high rates of nest predation, circulating levels of corticosterone (the primary avian glucocorticoid) during exposure to a standardized stressor predict aspects of subsequent behavior and fitness. Individuals that mounted a stronger corticosterone stress response during the early reproductive period did not differ in clutch size, but fledged fewer offspring. Parents with higher stress-induced corticosterone during the early reproductive period later provisioned their nestlings at lower rates. Additionally, in the presence of a model predator stress-induced corticosterone was positively associated with the latency to return to the nest, but only among birds that were observed to return. Model comparisons revealed that stress-induced hormones were better predictors of the behavioral and fitness effects of exposure to transient, ecologically relevant stressors than baseline corticosterone. These findings are consistent with functional links between individual variation in the hormonal and behavioral response to stressors. If such links occur, then selection on the heritable components of the corticosterone stress response could promote adaptation to novel environments or predation regimes. PMID:25461975

  3. Nonadditive impacts of temperature and basal resource availability on predator-prey interactions and phenotypes.

    PubMed

    Costa, Zacharia J; Kishida, Osamu

    2015-08-01

    Predicting the impacts of climate change on communities requires understanding how temperature affects predator-prey interactions under different biotic conditions. In cases of size-specific predation, environmental influences on the growth rate of one or both species can determine predation rates. For example, warming increases top-down control of food webs, although this depends on resource availability for prey, as increased resources may allow prey to reach a size refuge. Moreover, because the magnitude of inducible defenses depends on predation rates and resource availability for prey, temperature and resource levels also affect phenotypic plasticity. To examine these issues, we manipulated the presence/absence of predatory Hynobius retardatus salamander larvae and herbivorous Rana pirica tadpoles at two temperatures and three basal resource levels. and measured their morphology, behavior, growth and survival. Prior work has shown that both species express antagonistic plasticity against one another in which salamanders enlarge their gape width and tadpoles increase their body width to reach a size-refuge. We found that increased temperatures increased predation rates, although this was counteracted by high basal resource availability, which further decreased salamander growth. Surprisingly, salamanders caused tadpoles to grow larger and express more extreme defensive phenotypes as resource levels decreased under warming, most likely due to their increased risk of predation. Thus, temperature and resources influenced defensive phenotype expression and its impacts on predator and prey growth by affecting their interaction strength. Our results indicate that basal resource levels can modify the impacts of increased temperatures on predator-prey interactions and its consequences for food webs. PMID:25820751

  4. Landscape-scale accessibility of livestock to tigers: implications of spatial grain for modeling predation risk to mitigate human–carnivore conflict

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Jennifer R B; Jhala, Yadvendradev V; Jena, Jyotirmay; Schmitz, Oswald J

    2015-01-01

    Innovative conservation tools are greatly needed to reduce livelihood losses and wildlife declines resulting from human–carnivore conflict. Spatial risk modeling is an emerging method for assessing the spatial patterns of predator–prey interactions, with applications for mitigating carnivore attacks on livestock. Large carnivores that ambush prey attack and kill over small areas, requiring models at fine spatial grains to predict livestock depredation hot spots. To detect the best resolution for predicting where carnivores access livestock, we examined the spatial attributes associated with livestock killed by tigers in Kanha Tiger Reserve, India, using risk models generated at 20, 100, and 200-m spatial grains. We analyzed land-use, human presence, and vegetation structure variables at 138 kill sites and 439 random sites to identify key landscape attributes where livestock were vulnerable to tigers. Land-use and human presence variables contributed strongly to predation risk models, with most variables showing high relative importance (≥0.85) at all spatial grains. The risk of a tiger killing livestock increased near dense forests and near the boundary of the park core zone where human presence is restricted. Risk was nonlinearly related to human infrastructure and open vegetation, with the greatest risk occurring 1.2 km from roads, 1.1 km from villages, and 8.0 km from scrubland. Kill sites were characterized by denser, patchier, and more complex vegetation with lower visibility than random sites. Risk maps revealed high-risk hot spots inside of the core zone boundary and in several patches in the human-dominated buffer zone. Validation against known kills revealed predictive accuracy for only the 20 m model, the resolution best representing the kill stage of hunting for large carnivores that ambush prey, like the tiger. Results demonstrate that risk models developed at fine spatial grains can offer accurate guidance on landscape attributes livestock

  5. Do great tits (Parus major) suppress basal metabolic rate in response to increased perceived predation danger? A field experiment.

    PubMed

    Mathot, Kimberley J; Abbey-Lee, Robin N; Kempenaers, Bart; Dingemanse, Niels J

    2016-10-01

    Several studies have shown that individuals with higher metabolic rates (MRs) feed at higher rates and are more willing to forage in the presence of predators. This increases the acquisition of resources, which in turn, may help to sustain a higher MR. Elevated predation danger may be expected to result in reduced MRs, either as a means of allowing for reduced feeding and risk-taking, or as a consequence of adaptively reducing intake rates via reduced feeding and/or risk-taking. We tested this prediction in free-living great tits (Parus major) using a playback experiment to manipulate perceived predation danger. There was evidence that changes in body mass and BMR differed as a function of treatment. In predator treatment plots, great tits tended to reduce their body mass, a commonly observed response in birds to increased predation danger. In contrast, birds from control treatment plots showed no overall changes in body mass. There was also evidence that great tits from control treatment plots increased their basal metabolic rate (BMR) over the course of the experiment, presumably due to decreasing ambient temperatures over the study period. However, there was no evidence for changes in BMR for birds from predator treatment plots. Although the directions of these results are consistent with the predicted directions of effects, the effects sizes and confidence intervals yield inconclusive support for the hypothesis that great tits would adaptively suppress BMR in response to increased perceived predation risk. The effect size observed in the present study was small (~1%) and would not be expected to result in substantive reductions in feeding rate and/or risk-taking. Whether or not ecological conditions that generate greater energetic stress (e.g. lower food availability, lower ambient temperatures) could produce an effect that produces biologically meaningful reductions in feeding activity and/or risk-taking remains an open question. PMID:27342428

  6. Behavioral responses of native prey to disparate predators: naiveté and predator recognition.

    PubMed

    Anson, Jennifer R; Dickman, Chris R

    2013-02-01

    It is widely accepted that predator recognition and avoidance are important behaviors in allowing prey to mitigate the impacts of their predators. However, while prey species generally develop anti-predator behaviors through coevolution with predators, they sometimes show accelerated adoption of these behaviors under strong selection pressure from novel species. We used a field manipulation experiment to gauge the ability of the common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus), a semi-arboreal Australian marsupial, to recognize and respond to olfactory cues of different predator archetypes. We predicted that ringtails would display stronger anti-predator behaviors to cues of the invasive European red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in areas where fox impacts had been greatest, and to cues of the native lace monitor (Varanus varius) in areas of sympatry compared with allopatry. We found that ringtails fled quickly and were more alert when exposed to the fecal odors of both predators compared to neutral and pungent control odors, confirming that predator odors are recognized and avoided. However, these aversive responses were similar irrespective of predator presence or level of impact. These results suggest that selection pressure from the fox has been sufficient for ringtails to develop anti-predator behaviors over the few generations since foxes have become established. In contrast, we speculate that aversive responses by ringtails to the lace monitor in areas where this predator is absent reflect recent coexistence of the two species. We conclude that rapid evolution of anti-predator behaviors may occur when selection is strong. The maintenance of these behaviors should allow re-establishment of predator-prey relationships if the interactants regain sympatry via range shifts or management actions to reintroduce them to their former ranges. PMID:22865005

  7. Predator olfactory cues generate a foraging–predation trade-off through prey apprehension

    PubMed Central

    Siepielski, Adam M.; Fallon, Eric; Boersma, Kate

    2016-01-01

    Most animals are faced with the challenge of securing food under the risk of predation. This frequently generates a trade-off whereby animals respond to predator cues with reduced movement to avoid predation at the direct cost of reduced foraging success. However, predators may also cause prey to be apprehensive in their foraging activities, which would generate an indirect ‘apprehension cost’. Apprehension arises when a forager redirects attention from foraging tasks to predator detection and incurs a cost from such multi-tasking, because the forager ends up making more mistakes in its foraging tasks as a result. Here, we test this apprehension cost hypothesis and show that damselflies miss a greater proportion of their prey during foraging bouts in response to both olfactory cues produced by conspecifics that have only viewed a fish predator and olfactory cues produced directly by fish. This reduced feeding efficiency is in addition to the stereotypical anti-predator response of reduced activity, which we also observed. These results show that costs associated with anti-predator responses not only arise through behavioural alterations that reduce the risk of predation, but also from the indirect costs of apprehension and multi-tasking that can reduce feeding efficiency under the threat of predation. PMID:26998324

  8. Effects of stream predator richness on the prey community and ecosystem attributes.

    PubMed

    Nilsson, Erika; Olsson, Karin; Persson, Anders; Nyström, Per; Svensson, Gustav; Nilsson, Ulf

    2008-10-01

    It is important to understand the role that different predators can have to be able to predict how changes in the predator assemblage may affect the prey community and ecosystem attributes. We tested the effects of different stream predators on macroinvertebrates and ecosystem attributes, in terms of benthic algal biomass and accumulation of detritus, in artificial stream channels. Predator richness was manipulated from zero to three predators, using two fish and one crayfish species, while density was kept equal (n = 6) in all treatments with predators. Predators differed in their foraging strategies (benthic vs. drift feeding fish and omnivorous crayfish) but had overlapping food preferences. We found effects of both predator species richness and identity, but the direction of effects differed depending on the response variable. While there was no effect on macroinvertebrate biomass, diversity of predatory macroinvertebrates decreased with increasing predator species richness, which suggests complementarity between predators for this functional feeding group. Moreover, the accumulation of detritus was affected by both predator species richness and predator identity. Increasing predator species richness decreased detritus accumulation and presence of the benthic fish resulted in the lowest amounts of detritus. Predator identity (the benthic fish), but not predator species richness had a positive effect on benthic algal biomass. Furthermore, the results indicate indirect negative effects between the two ecosystem attributes, with a negative correlation between the amount of detritus and algal biomass. Hence, interactions between different predators directly affected stream community structure, while predator identity had the strongest impact on ecosystem attributes. PMID:18597120

  9. Introduced mammalian predators induce behavioural changes in parental care in an endemic New Zealand bird

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Massaro, M.; Starling-Windhof, A.; Briskie, J.V.; Martin, T.E.

    2008-01-01

    The introduction of predatory mammals to oceanic islands has led to the extension of many birds. Although introduced predators should favour changes that reduce predation risk in surviving bird species, the ability of island birds to respond to such novel changes remains unstudied. We tested whether novel predation risk imposed by introduced mammalian predators has altered the parental behaviour of the endemic New Zealand bellbird (Anthomis melanura). We examined parental behaviour of billbnirds at three woodlands sites in New Zealand that differed in predation risk: 1) a mainland site with exotic predators present (high predation risk), 2) a mainland site with exotic predators experimentally removed (low risk recently) and, 3) an off-shore island where exotic predators were never introduced (low risk always). We also compared parental behavior of bellbirds with two closely related Tasmanian honeyeaters (Phylidonyris spp) that evolved with native nest predators (high risk always). Increased nest predation risk has been postulated to favour reduced parental activity, and we tested whether island bellbirds responded to variation in predation risk. We found that females spent more time on the nest per incubating bout with increased risk of predation, a strategy that minimised activity at the nest during incubation. Parental activity during the nestling period, measured as number of feeding visits/hr, also decreased with increasing nest predation risk across sites, and was lowest among the honeyeaters in Tasmania that evolved with native predators. These results demonstrates that some island birds are able to respond to increased risk of predation by novel predators in ways that appear adaptive. We suggest that conservation efforts may be more effective if they take advantage of the ability of island birds to respond to novel predators, especially when the elimination of exotic predators is not possible.

  10. Introduced Mammalian Predators Induce Behavioural Changes in Parental Care in an Endemic New Zealand Bird

    PubMed Central

    Massaro, Melanie; Starling-Windhof, Amanda; Briskie, James V.; Martin, Thomas E.

    2008-01-01

    The introduction of predatory mammals to oceanic islands has led to the extinction of many endemic birds. Although introduced predators should favour changes that reduce predation risk in surviving bird species, the ability of island birds to respond to such novel changes remains unstudied. We tested whether novel predation risk imposed by introduced mammalian predators has altered the parental behaviour of the endemic New Zealand bellbird (Anthornis melanura). We examined parental behaviour of bellbirds at three woodland sites in New Zealand that differed in predation risk: 1) a mainland site with exotic predators present (high predation risk), 2) a mainland site with exotic predators experimentally removed (low risk recently) and, 3) an off-shore island where exotic predators were never introduced (low risk always). We also compared parental behaviour of bellbirds with two closely related Tasmanian honeyeaters (Phylidonyris spp.) that evolved with native nest predators (high risk always). Increased nest predation risk has been postulated to favour reduced parental activity, and we tested whether island bellbirds responded to variation in predation risk. We found that females spent more time on the nest per incubating bout with increased risk of predation, a strategy that minimised activity at the nest during incubation. Parental activity during the nestling period, measured as number of feeding visits/hr, also decreased with increasing nest predation risk across sites, and was lowest among the honeyeaters in Tasmania that evolved with native predators. These results demonstrate that some island birds are able to respond to increased risk of predation by novel predators in ways that appear adaptive. We suggest that conservation efforts may be more effective if they take advantage of the ability of island birds to respond to novel predators, especially when the elimination of exotic predators is not possible. PMID:18523640