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

    PubMed

    Orrock, John L; Fletcher, Robert J

    2014-06-01

    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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Parasite-induced trophic facilitation exploited by a non-host predator: a manipulator's nightmare.

    PubMed

    Mouritsen, Kim N; Poulin, Robert

    2003-09-15

    Parasites with complex life cycles, relying on trophic transmission to a definitive host, very often induce changes in the behaviour or appearance of their intermediate hosts. Because this usually makes the intermediate host vulnerable to predation by the definitive host, it is generally assumed that the parasite's transmission rate is increased, and that the modification of the host is, therefore, of great adaptive significance to the parasite. However, in the ecological "real world" other predators unsuitable as hosts may just as well take advantage of the facilitation process and significantly erode the benefit of host manipulation. Here we show that the intertidal New Zealand cockle (Austrovenus stutchburyi), manipulated by its echinostome trematode (Curtuteria australis) to rest on the sediment surface fully exposed to predation from the avian definitive host, is also subject to sublethal predation from a benthic feeding fish (Notolabrus celidotus, Labridae). The fish is targeting only the cockle-foot, in which the parasite preferentially encysts, reducing the infection intensity of manipulated cockles to levels comparable with those in non-manipulated, buried cockles. Based on the frequency and intensity of the foot cropping and predation rates on surfaced cockles by avian hosts, it is estimated that 2.5% of the parasite population in manipulated cockles is transmitted successfully whereas 17.1% is lost to fish. We argue that the adaptive significance of manipulation in the present system depends critically on the feeding behaviour of the definitive host. If cockles constitute the majority of prey items, there will be selection against manipulation. If manipulated cockles are taken as an easily accessible supplement to a diet composed mostly of other prey organisms, behavioural manipulation of the cockle host appears a high risk, high profit transmission strategy. Both these feeding behaviours of birds are known to occur in the field.

  9. 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

  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. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Predator behaviour and predation risk in the heterogeneous Arctic environment.

    PubMed

    Lecomte, Nicolas; Careau, Vincent; Gauthier, Gilles; Giroux, Jean-François

    2008-05-01

    1. Habitat heterogeneity and predator behaviour can strongly affect predator-prey interactions but these factors are rarely considered simultaneously, especially when systems encompass multiple predators and prey. 2. In the Arctic, greater snow geese Anser caerulescens atlanticus L. nest in two structurally different habitats: wetlands that form intricate networks of water channels, and mesic tundra where such obstacles are absent. In this heterogeneous environment, goose eggs are exposed to two types of predators: the arctic fox Vulpes lagopus L. and a diversity of avian predators. We hypothesized that, contrary to birds, the hunting ability of foxes would be impaired by the structurally complex wetland habitat, resulting in a lower predation risk for goose eggs. 3. In addition, lemmings, the main prey of foxes, show strong population cycles. We thus further examined how their fluctuations influenced the interaction between habitat heterogeneity and fox predation on goose eggs. 4. An experimental approach with artificial nests suggested that foxes were faster than avian predators to find unattended goose nests in mesic tundra whereas the reverse was true in wetlands. Foxes spent 3.5 times more time between consecutive attacks on real goose nests in wetlands than in mesic tundra. Their attacks on goose nests were also half as successful in wetlands than in mesic tundra whereas no difference was found for avian predators. 5. Nesting success in wetlands (65%) was higher than in mesic tundra (56%) but the difference between habitats increased during lemming crashes (15%) compared to other phases of the cycle (5%). Nests located at the edge of wetland patches were also less successful than central ones, suggesting a gradient in accessibility of goose nests in wetlands for foxes. 6. Our study shows that the structural complexity of wetlands decreases predation risk from foxes but not avian predators in arctic-nesting birds. Our results also demonstrate that cyclic

  20. Predator behaviour and predation risk in the heterogeneous Arctic environment.

    PubMed

    Lecomte, Nicolas; Careau, Vincent; Gauthier, Gilles; Giroux, Jean-François

    2008-05-01

    1. Habitat heterogeneity and predator behaviour can strongly affect predator-prey interactions but these factors are rarely considered simultaneously, especially when systems encompass multiple predators and prey. 2. In the Arctic, greater snow geese Anser caerulescens atlanticus L. nest in two structurally different habitats: wetlands that form intricate networks of water channels, and mesic tundra where such obstacles are absent. In this heterogeneous environment, goose eggs are exposed to two types of predators: the arctic fox Vulpes lagopus L. and a diversity of avian predators. We hypothesized that, contrary to birds, the hunting ability of foxes would be impaired by the structurally complex wetland habitat, resulting in a lower predation risk for goose eggs. 3. In addition, lemmings, the main prey of foxes, show strong population cycles. We thus further examined how their fluctuations influenced the interaction between habitat heterogeneity and fox predation on goose eggs. 4. An experimental approach with artificial nests suggested that foxes were faster than avian predators to find unattended goose nests in mesic tundra whereas the reverse was true in wetlands. Foxes spent 3.5 times more time between consecutive attacks on real goose nests in wetlands than in mesic tundra. Their attacks on goose nests were also half as successful in wetlands than in mesic tundra whereas no difference was found for avian predators. 5. Nesting success in wetlands (65%) was higher than in mesic tundra (56%) but the difference between habitats increased during lemming crashes (15%) compared to other phases of the cycle (5%). Nests located at the edge of wetland patches were also less successful than central ones, suggesting a gradient in accessibility of goose nests in wetlands for foxes. 6. Our study shows that the structural complexity of wetlands decreases predation risk from foxes but not avian predators in arctic-nesting birds. Our results also demonstrate that cyclic

  1. 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

  2. Multiscale wolf predation risk for elk: does migration reduce risk?

    PubMed

    Hebblewhite, Mark; Merrill, Evelyn H

    2007-05-01

    While migration is hypothesized to reduce predation risk for ungulates, there have been few direct empirical tests of this hypothesis. Furthermore, few studies examined multiscale predation risk avoidance by migrant ungulates, yet recent research reveals that predator-prey interactions occur at multiple scales. We test the predation risk reduction hypothesis at two spatial scales in a partially migratory elk (Cervus elaphus) population by comparing exposure of migrant and resident elk to wolf (Canis lupus) predation risk. We used GPS and VHF telemetry data collected from 67 migrant and 44 resident elk over the summers of 2002-2004 in and adjacent to Banff National Park (BNP), Canada. We used wolf GPS and VHF telemetry data to estimate predation risk as a function of the relative probability of wolf occurrence weighted by a spatial density model that adjusted for varying pack sizes. We validated the predation risk model using independent data on wolf-killed elk, and showed that combining wolf presence and spatial density best predicted where an elk was likely to be killed. Predation risk on summer ranges of migrant elk was reduced by 70% compared to within resident elk summer ranges. Because wolves avoided areas near high human activity, however, fine-scale selection by resident elk for areas near high human activity reduced their predation risk exposure to only 15% higher than migrants, a difference significant in only one of three summers. Finally, during actual migration, elk were exposed to 1.7 times more predation risk than residents, even though migration was rapid. Our results support the hypothesis that large-scale migrations can reduce predation. However, we also show that where small-scale spatial variation in predation risk exists, nonmigratory elk may equally reduce predation risk as effectively as migrants under some circumstances.

  3. Maternal intraguild predation risk affects offspring anti-predator behavior and learning in mites.

    PubMed

    Seiter, Michael; Schausberger, Peter

    2015-10-09

    Predation risk is a strong selective force shaping prey morphology, life history and behavior. Anti-predator behaviors may be innate, learned or both but little is known about the transgenerational behavioral effects of maternally experienced predation risk. We examined intraguild predation (IGP) risk-induced maternal effects on offspring anti-predator behavior, including learning, in the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis. We exposed predatory mite mothers during egg production to presence or absence of the IG predator Amblyseius andersoni and assessed whether maternal stress affects the anti-predator behavior, including larval learning ability, of their offspring as protonymphs. Protonymphs emerging from stressed or unstressed mothers, and having experienced IGP risk as larvae or not, were subjected to choice situations with and without IG predator traces. Predator-experienced protonymphs from stressed mothers were the least active and acted the boldest in site choice towards predator cues. We argue that the attenuated response of the protonymphs to predator traces alone represents optimized risk management because no immediate risk existed. Such behavioral adjustment could reduce the inherent fitness costs of anti-predator behaviors. Overall, our study suggests that P. persimilis mothers experiencing IGP risk may prime their offspring to behave more optimally in IGP environments.

  4. 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.

  5. Predation risk shapes thermal physiology of a predaceous damselfly.

    PubMed

    Culler, Lauren E; McPeek, Mark A; Ayres, Matthew P

    2014-11-01

    Predation risk has strong effects on organismal physiology that can cascade to impact ecosystem structure and function. Physiological processes in general are sensitive to temperature. Thus, the temperature at which predators and prey interact may shape physiological response to predation risk. We measured and evaluated how temperature and predation risk affected growth rates of predaceous damselfly nymphs (Enallagma vesperum, Odonata: Coenagrionidae). First, we conducted growth trials at five temperatures crossed with two levels of predation risk (fish predator present versus absent) and measured growth rates, consumption rates, assimilation efficiencies, and production efficiencies of 107 individual damselflies. Second, we used a model to evaluate if and how component physiological responses to predation risk affected growth rates across temperatures. In the absence of mortality threat, growth rates of damselflies increased with warming until about 23.5 °C and then began to decline, a typical unimodal response to changes in temperature. Under predation risk, growth rates were lower and the shape of the thermal response was less apparent. Higher metabolic and survival costs induced by predation risk were only partially offset by changes in consumption rates and assimilation efficiencies and the magnitude of non-consumptive effects varied as a function of temperature. Furthermore, we documented that thermal physiology was mediated by predation risk, a known driver of organismal physiology that occurs in the context of species interactions. A general understanding of climatic impacts on ectothermic populations requires consideration of the community context of thermal physiology, including non-consumptive effects of predators.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. The Lotka-Volterra predator-prey model with foraging-predation risk trade-offs.

    PubMed

    Krivan, Vlastimil

    2007-11-01

    This article studies the effects of adaptive changes in predator and/or prey activities on the Lotka-Volterra predator-prey population dynamics. The model assumes the classical foraging-predation risk trade-offs: increased activity increases population growth rate, but it also increases mortality rate. The model considers three scenarios: prey only are adaptive, predators only are adaptive, and both species are adaptive. Under all these scenarios, the neutral stability of the classical Lotka-Volterra model is partially lost because the amplitude of maximum oscillation in species numbers is bounded, and the bound is independent of the initial population numbers. Moreover, if both prey and predators behave adaptively, the neutral stability can be completely lost, and a globally stable equilibrium would appear. This is because prey and/or predator switching leads to a piecewise constant prey (predator) isocline with a vertical (horizontal) part that limits the amplitude of oscillations in prey and predator numbers, exactly as suggested by Rosenzweig and MacArthur in their seminal work on graphical stability analysis of predator-prey systems. Prey and predator activities in a long-term run are calculated explicitly. This article shows that predictions based on short-term behavioral experiments may not correspond to long-term predictions when population dynamics are considered.

  10. Adaptation of inducible defense in Euplotes daidaleos (Ciliophora) to predation risks by various predators.

    PubMed

    Kusch, J

    1995-07-01

    The extent of induced morphological defense in Euplotes daidaleos correlates to this ciliate's predation risk from the defense-inducing predator species. Euplotes daidaleos responded by morphological transformation only to organisms that are able to feed on typically formed Euplotes cells (63 ± 5 μm cell width in E. daidaleos). Three of those potential predator species caused defensive changes to various degrees (Student's t-test, P < 0.1 to P < 0.0001): Lembadion bullinum (Ciliata) induced 82 ± 6 μm cell width in E. daidaleos; Chaetogaster diastrophus (Oligochaeta) induced 85 = 6 μm width; and Stenostomum sphagnetorum (Turbellaria) induced 89 ± 8 μm width (at a density of 10 predators per milliliter, respectively). At higher predator densities (50 or 100 organisms per milliliter), Euplotes developed a correspondingly larger width (to a maximum of 103 ± 10 μm in the presence of S. sphagnetorum). Euplotes did not respond to organisms (e.g., Blepharisma japonicum, Colpidium campylum, Didinium nasutum, Paramecium caudatum, Spirostomum ambiguum, Stentor coeruleus) that cannot feed on this ciliate species. Daphnia longispina and Bursaria truncatella predators, which can feed on large prey of ≥125, or ≥200 μm in diameter, respectively, also had no effect on the morphology of Euplotes. The extent of defense in Euplotes that was induced by 10 predators per milliliter during 24 h decreased the predation risk from those predators to 67% in the presence of S. sphagnetorum, to 50% with L. bullinum, and to 15% with C. diastrophus, compared to the typical form of Euplotes. In a natural population, the defensive form of E. daidaleos was found with average cell widths of 88 ± 8 μm. The results indicate that predator-induced defense in natural Euplotes populations is beneficial to this prey and that it is adapted to the predation abilities of Euplotes predators, whereby energetical costs related to defensive changes may be saved. PMID:24185414

  11. Predation risk increases dispersal distance in prey

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Otsuki, Hatsune; Yano, Shuichi

    2014-06-01

    Understanding the ecological factors that affect dispersal distances allows us to predict the consequences of dispersal. Although predator avoidance is an important cause of prey dispersal, its effects on dispersal distance have not been investigated. We used simple experimental setups to test dispersal distances of the ambulatory dispersing spider mite ( Tetranychus kanzawai) in the presence or absence of a predator ( Neoseiulus womersleyi). In the absence of predators, most spider mites settled in adjacent patches, whereas the majority of those dispersing in the presence of predators passed through adjacent patches and settled in distant ones. This is the first study to experimentally demonstrate that predators induce greater dispersal distance in prey.

  12. Nonlinearity in the predation risk of prey mobility.

    PubMed Central

    Banks, P B; Norrdahl, K; Korpimäki, E

    2000-01-01

    Odorous waste products such as urine and faeces are unavoidable for most animals and are widely exploited by predators and their prey. Consequently, waste accumulations can be risky and prey which increase their mobility in order to disperse and dilute their waste should avoid a high predation risk until this benefit is balanced by the increasing risks of random predator encounter. This hypothesis was tested for voles (Microtus spp.) in Finland which are vulnerable to predation due to the scent and ultraviolet attractiveness of their urine. The mortality and mobility of radio-collared voles showed a U-shaped relationship, regardless of vole sex, species or population cycle phase. The low risks for prey making intermediate movements suggest that predation risk can exert strong selective pressures on prey such that they have little respite from the risk of being killed. PMID:11467424

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Reciprocity in predator-prey interactions: exposure to defended prey and predation risk affects intermediate predator life history and morphology.

    PubMed

    Hammill, Edd; Beckerman, Andrew P

    2010-05-01

    A vast body of literature exists documenting the morphological, behavioural and life history changes that predators induce in prey. However, little attention has been paid to how these induced changes feed back and affect the predators' life history and morphology. Larvae of the phantom midge Chaoborus flavicans are intermediate predators in a food web with Daphnia pulex as the basal resource and planktivorous fish as the top predator. C. flavicans prey on D. pulex and are themselves prey for fish; as D. pulex induce morphological defences in the presence of C. flavicans this is an ideal system in which to evaluate the effects of defended prey and top predators on an intermediate consumer. We assessed the impact on C. flavicans life history and morphology of foraging on defended prey while also being exposed to the non-lethal presence of a top fish predator. We tested the basic hypothesis that the effects of defended prey will depend on the presence or absence of top predator predation risk. Feeding rate was significantly reduced and time to pupation was significantly increased by defended morph prey. Gut size, development time, fecundity, egg size and reproductive effort respond to fish chemical cues directly or significantly alter the relationship between a trait and body size. We found no significant interactions between prey morph and the non-lethal presence of a top predator, suggesting that the effects of these two biological factors were additive or singularly independent. Overall it appears that C. flavicans is able to substantially modify several aspects of its biology, and while some changes appear mere consequences of resource limitation others appear facultative in nature. PMID:19936795

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Informed renesting decisions: the effect of nest predation risk.

    PubMed

    Pakanen, Veli-Matti; Rönkä, Nelli; Thomson, Robert L; Koivula, Kari

    2014-04-01

    Animals should cue on information that predicts reproductive success. After failure of an initial reproductive attempt, decisions on whether or not to initiate a second reproductive attempt may be affected by individual experience and social information. If the prospects of breeding success are poor, long-lived animals in particular should not invest in current reproductive success (CRS) in case it generates costs to future reproductive success (FRS). In birds, predation risk experienced during breeding may provide a cue for renesting success. Species having a high FRS potential should be flexible and take predation risk into account in their renesting decisions. We tested this prediction using breeding data of a long-lived wader, the southern dunlin Calidris alpina schinzii. As predicted, dunlin cued on predation risk information acquired from direct experience of nest failure due to predation and ambient nest predation risk. While the overall renesting rate was low (34.5%), the early season renesting rate was high but declined with season, indicating probable temporal changes in the costs and benefits of renesting. We develop a conceptual cost-benefit model to describe the effects of the phase and the length of breeding season on predation risk responses in renesting. We suggest that species investing in FRS should not continue breeding in short breeding seasons in response to predation risk but without time constraints, their response should be similar to species investing in CRS, e.g. within-season dispersal and increased nest concealment.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Perceived predation risk as a function of predator dietary cues in terrestrial salamanders.

    PubMed

    Murray; Jenkins

    1999-01-01

    Prey often avoid predator chemical cues, and in aquatic systems, prey may even appraise predation risk via cues associated with the predator's diet. However, this relationship has not been shown for terrestrial predator-prey systems, where the proximity of predators and prey, and the intensity of predator chemical cues in the environment, may be less than in aquatic systems. In the laboratory, we tested behavioural responses (avoidance, habituation and activity) of terrestrial red-backed salamanders, Plethodon cinereus, to chemical cues from garter snakes, Thamnophis sirtalis, fed either red-backed salamanders or earthworms (Lumbricus spp.). We placed salamanders in arenas lined with paper towels pretreated with snake chemicals, and monitored salamander movements during 120 min. Salamanders avoided substrates preconditioned by earthworm-fed (avoidanceX+/-SE=91.1+/-2.5%, N=25) and salamander-fed (95.2+/-2.5%, N=25) snakes, when tested against untreated substrate (control). Salamanders avoided cues from salamander-fed snakes more strongly (75.2+/-5.5%, N=25) than earthworm-fed snakes when subjected to both treatments simultaneously, implying that salamanders were sensitive to predator diet. Salamanders tended to avoid snake substrate more strongly during the last 60 min of a trial, but activity patterns were similar between salamanders exposed exclusively to control substrate versus those subject to snake cues. In another experiment, salamanders failed to avoid cues from dead conspecifics, suggesting that the stronger avoidance of salamander-fed snakes in the previous experiment was not directly due to chemical cues emitted by predator-killed salamanders. Salamanders also did not discriminate between cues from a salamander-fed snake versus a salamander-fed snake that was recently switched (i.e. <14 days) to an earthworm diet. Our results imply that terrestrial salamanders are sensitive to perceived predation risk via by-products of predator diet, and that snake

  9. Perceived predation risk as a function of predator dietary cues in terrestrial salamanders.

    PubMed

    Murray; Jenkins

    1999-01-01

    Prey often avoid predator chemical cues, and in aquatic systems, prey may even appraise predation risk via cues associated with the predator's diet. However, this relationship has not been shown for terrestrial predator-prey systems, where the proximity of predators and prey, and the intensity of predator chemical cues in the environment, may be less than in aquatic systems. In the laboratory, we tested behavioural responses (avoidance, habituation and activity) of terrestrial red-backed salamanders, Plethodon cinereus, to chemical cues from garter snakes, Thamnophis sirtalis, fed either red-backed salamanders or earthworms (Lumbricus spp.). We placed salamanders in arenas lined with paper towels pretreated with snake chemicals, and monitored salamander movements during 120 min. Salamanders avoided substrates preconditioned by earthworm-fed (avoidanceX+/-SE=91.1+/-2.5%, N=25) and salamander-fed (95.2+/-2.5%, N=25) snakes, when tested against untreated substrate (control). Salamanders avoided cues from salamander-fed snakes more strongly (75.2+/-5.5%, N=25) than earthworm-fed snakes when subjected to both treatments simultaneously, implying that salamanders were sensitive to predator diet. Salamanders tended to avoid snake substrate more strongly during the last 60 min of a trial, but activity patterns were similar between salamanders exposed exclusively to control substrate versus those subject to snake cues. In another experiment, salamanders failed to avoid cues from dead conspecifics, suggesting that the stronger avoidance of salamander-fed snakes in the previous experiment was not directly due to chemical cues emitted by predator-killed salamanders. Salamanders also did not discriminate between cues from a salamander-fed snake versus a salamander-fed snake that was recently switched (i.e. <14 days) to an earthworm diet. Our results imply that terrestrial salamanders are sensitive to perceived predation risk via by-products of predator diet, and that snake

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

    PubMed Central

    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. PMID:23782879

  11. 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.

  12. Behaviour and physiology shape the growth accelerations associated with predation risk, high temperatures and southern latitudes in Ischnura damselfly larvae.

    PubMed

    Stoks, Robby; Swillen, Ine; De Block, Marjan

    2012-09-01

    1. To better predict effects of climate change and predation risk on prey animals and ecosystems, we need studies documenting not only latitudinal patterns in growth rate but also growth plasticity to temperature and predation risk and the underlying proximate mechanisms: behaviour (food intake) and digestive physiology (growth efficiency). The mechanistic underpinnings of predator-induced growth increases remain especially poorly understood. 2. We reared larvae from replicated northern and southern populations of the damselfly Ischnura elegans in a common garden experiment manipulating temperature and predation risk and quantified growth rate, food intake and growth efficiency. 3. The predator-induced and temperature-induced growth accelerations were the same at both latitudes, despite considerably faster growth rates in the southern populations. While the higher growth rates in the southern populations and the high rearing temperature were driven by both an increased food intake and a higher growth efficiency, the higher growth rates under predation risk were completely driven by a higher growth efficiency, despite a lowered food intake. 4. The emerging pattern that higher growth rates associated with latitude, temperature and predation risk were all (partly or completely) mediated by a higher growth efficiency has two major implications. First, it indicates that energy allocation trade-offs and the associated physiological costs play a major role both in shaping large-scale geographic variation in growth rates and in shaping the extent and direction of growth rate plasticity. Secondly, it suggests that the efficiency of energy transfer in aquatic food chains, where damselfly larvae are important intermediate predators, will be higher in southern populations, at higher temperatures and under predation risk. This may eventually contribute to the lengthening of food chains under these conditions and highlights that the prey identity may determine the influence of

  13. Behaviour and physiology shape the growth accelerations associated with predation risk, high temperatures and southern latitudes in Ischnura damselfly larvae.

    PubMed

    Stoks, Robby; Swillen, Ine; De Block, Marjan

    2012-09-01

    1. To better predict effects of climate change and predation risk on prey animals and ecosystems, we need studies documenting not only latitudinal patterns in growth rate but also growth plasticity to temperature and predation risk and the underlying proximate mechanisms: behaviour (food intake) and digestive physiology (growth efficiency). The mechanistic underpinnings of predator-induced growth increases remain especially poorly understood. 2. We reared larvae from replicated northern and southern populations of the damselfly Ischnura elegans in a common garden experiment manipulating temperature and predation risk and quantified growth rate, food intake and growth efficiency. 3. The predator-induced and temperature-induced growth accelerations were the same at both latitudes, despite considerably faster growth rates in the southern populations. While the higher growth rates in the southern populations and the high rearing temperature were driven by both an increased food intake and a higher growth efficiency, the higher growth rates under predation risk were completely driven by a higher growth efficiency, despite a lowered food intake. 4. The emerging pattern that higher growth rates associated with latitude, temperature and predation risk were all (partly or completely) mediated by a higher growth efficiency has two major implications. First, it indicates that energy allocation trade-offs and the associated physiological costs play a major role both in shaping large-scale geographic variation in growth rates and in shaping the extent and direction of growth rate plasticity. Secondly, it suggests that the efficiency of energy transfer in aquatic food chains, where damselfly larvae are important intermediate predators, will be higher in southern populations, at higher temperatures and under predation risk. This may eventually contribute to the lengthening of food chains under these conditions and highlights that the prey identity may determine the influence of

  14. Habitat stability, predation risk and 'memory syndromes'.

    PubMed

    Dalesman, S; Rendle, A; Dall, S R X

    2015-05-27

    Habitat stability and predation pressure are thought to be major drivers in the evolutionary maintenance of behavioural syndromes, with trait covariance only occurring within specific habitats. However, animals also exhibit behavioural plasticity, often through memory formation. Memory formation across traits may be linked, with covariance in memory traits (memory syndromes) selected under particular environmental conditions. This study tests whether the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, demonstrates consistency among memory traits ('memory syndrome') related to threat avoidance and foraging. We used eight populations originating from three different habitat types: i) laboratory populations (stable habitat, predator-free); ii) river populations (fairly stable habitat, fish predation); and iii) ditch populations (unstable habitat, invertebrate predation). At a population level, there was a negative relationship between memories related to threat avoidance and food selectivity, but no consistency within habitat type. At an individual level, covariance between memory traits was dependent on habitat. Laboratory populations showed no covariance among memory traits, whereas river populations showed a positive correlation between food memories, and ditch populations demonstrated a negative relationship between threat memory and food memories. Therefore, selection pressures among habitats appear to act independently on memory trait covariation at an individual level and the average response within a population.

  15. 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.

  16. Predation risk drives social complexity in cooperative breeders

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Phenotypic plasticity in anti-intraguild predator strategies: mite larvae adjust their behaviours according to vulnerability and predation risk.

    PubMed

    Walzer, Andreas; Schausberger, Peter

    2013-05-01

    Interspecific threat-sensitivity allows prey to maximize the net benefit of antipredator strategies by adjusting the type and intensity of their response to the level of predation risk. This is well documented for classical prey-predator interactions but less so for intraguild predation (IGP). We examined threat-sensitivity in antipredator behaviour of larvae in a predatory mite guild sharing spider mites as prey. The guild consisted of the highly vulnerable intraguild (IG) prey and weak IG predator Phytoseiulus persimilis, the moderately vulnerable IG prey and moderate IG predator Neoseiulus californicus and the little vulnerable IG prey and strong IG predator Amblyseius andersoni. We videotaped the behaviour of the IG prey larvae of the three species in presence of either a low- or a high-risk IG predator female or predator absence and analysed time, distance, path shape and interaction parameters of predators and prey. The least vulnerable IG prey A. andersoni was insensitive to differing IGP risks but the moderately vulnerable IG prey N. californicus and the highly vulnerable IG prey P. persimilis responded in a threat-sensitive manner. Predator presence triggered threat-sensitive behavioural changes in one out of ten measured traits in N. californicus larvae but in four traits in P. persimilis larvae. Low-risk IG predator presence induced a typical escape response in P. persimilis larvae, whereas they reduced their activity in the high-risk IG predator presence. We argue that interspecific threat-sensitivity may promote co-existence of IG predators and IG prey and should be common in predator guilds with long co-evolutionary history.

  2. Personality-dependent dispersal cancelled under predation risk.

    PubMed

    Cote, Julien; Fogarty, Sean; Tymen, Blaise; Sih, Andrew; Brodin, Tomas

    2013-12-22

    Dispersal is a fundamental life-history trait for many ecological processes. Recent studies suggest that dispersers, in comparison to residents, display various phenotypic specializations increasing their dispersal inclination or success. Among them, dispersers are believed to be consistently more bold, exploratory, asocial or aggressive than residents. These links between behavioural types and dispersal should vary with the cause of dispersal. However, with the exception of one study, personality-dependent dispersal has not been studied in contrasting environments. Here, we used mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) to test whether personality-dependent dispersal varies with predation risk, a factor that should induce boldness or sociability-dependent dispersal. Corroborating previous studies, we found that dispersing mosquitofish are less social than non-dispersing fish when there was no predation risk. However, personality-dependent dispersal is negated under predation risk, dispersers having similar personality types to residents. Our results suggest that adaptive dispersal decisions could commonly depend on interactions between phenotypes and ecological contexts.

  3. 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.

  4. Predation of beetles (Tenebrio molitor) infected with tapeworms (Hymenolepis diminuta): a note of caution for the manipulation hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Webster, J P; Gowtage-Sequeira, S; Berdoy, M; Hurd, H

    2000-03-01

    Previous laboratory studies have indicated that tenebrionid beetles infected with Hymenolepis diminuta display behavioural alterations. These are assumed to increase the likelihood of this intermediate host being predated by the Rattus sp. definitive host, and hence provide support for the Manipulation Hypothesis. We tested this hypothesis by both assessing beetle behaviour and predation rates in semi-naturalistic environments. Behavioural assays showed that infected beetles were more often exposed (not concealed under boxes) than uninfected beetles. However, there were no differences in predation rates between infected and uninfected beetles. We discuss this in terms of the historical and evolutionary contexts under which such altered behaviours could evolve and their implications for the Manipulation Hypothesis.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-01

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  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 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.

  18. Interactive effects of predation risk and conspecific density on the nutrient stoichiometry of prey.

    PubMed

    Guariento, Rafael D; Carneiro, Luciana S; Jorge, Jaqueiuto S; Borges, Angélica N; Esteves, Francisco A; Caliman, Adriano

    2015-11-01

    The mere presence of predators (i.e., predation risk) can alter consumer physiology by restricting food intake and inducing stress, which can ultimately affect prey-mediated ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycling. However, many environmental factors, including conspecific density, can mediate the perception of risk by prey. Prey conspecific density has been defined as a fundamental feature that modulates perceived risk. In this study, we tested the effects of predation risk on prey nutrient stoichiometry (body and excretion). Using a constant predation risk, we also tested the effects of varying conspecific densities on prey responses to predation risk. To answer these questions, we conducted a mesocosm experiment using caged predators (Belostoma sp.), and small bullfrog tadpoles (Lithobates catesbeianus) as prey. We found that L. catesbeianus tadpoles adjust their body nutrient stoichiometry in response to predation risk, which is affected by conspecific density. We also found that the prey exhibited strong morphological responses to predation risk (i.e., an increase in tail muscle mass), which were positively correlated to body nitrogen content. Thus, we pose the notion that in risky situations, adaptive phenotypic responses rather than behavioral ones might partially explain why prey might have a higher nitrogen content under predation risk. In addition, the interactive roles of conspecific density and predation risk, which might result in reduced perceived risk and physiological restrictions in prey, also affected how prey stoichiometry responded to the fear of predation.

  19. 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

  20. Personality-dependent dispersal cancelled under predation risk

    PubMed Central

    Cote, Julien; Fogarty, Sean; Tymen, Blaise; Sih, Andrew; Brodin, Tomas

    2013-01-01

    Dispersal is a fundamental life-history trait for many ecological processes. Recent studies suggest that dispersers, in comparison to residents, display various phenotypic specializations increasing their dispersal inclination or success. Among them, dispersers are believed to be consistently more bold, exploratory, asocial or aggressive than residents. These links between behavioural types and dispersal should vary with the cause of dispersal. However, with the exception of one study, personality-dependent dispersal has not been studied in contrasting environments. Here, we used mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) to test whether personality-dependent dispersal varies with predation risk, a factor that should induce boldness or sociability-dependent dispersal. Corroborating previous studies, we found that dispersing mosquitofish are less social than non-dispersing fish when there was no predation risk. However, personality-dependent dispersal is negated under predation risk, dispersers having similar personality types to residents. Our results suggest that adaptive dispersal decisions could commonly depend on interactions between phenotypes and ecological contexts. PMID:24197414

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Threat-sensitive anti-intraguild predation behaviour: maternal strategies to reduce offspring predation risk in mites

    PubMed Central

    Walzer, Andreas; Schausberger, Peter

    2011-01-01

    Predation is a major selective force for the evolution of behavioural characteristics of prey. Predation among consumers competing for food is termed intraguild predation (IGP). From the perspective of individual prey, IGP differs from classical predation in the likelihood of occurrence because IG prey is usually more rarely encountered and less profitable because it is more difficult to handle than classical prey. It is not known whether IGP is a sufficiently strong force to evolve interspecific threat sensitivity in antipredation behaviours, as is known from classical predation, and if so whether such behaviours are innate or learned. We examined interspecific threat sensitivity in antipredation in a guild of predatory mite species differing in adaptation to the shared spider mite prey (i.e. Phytoseiulus persimilis, Neoseiulus californicus and Amblyseius andersoni). We first ranked the players in this guild according to the IGP risk posed to each other: A. andersoni was the strongest IG predator; P. persimilis was the weakest. Then, we assessed the influence of relative IGP risk and experience on maternal strategies to reduce offspring IGP risk: A. andersoni was insensitive to IGP risk. Threat sensitivity in oviposition site selection was induced by experience in P. persimilis but occurred independently of experience in N. californicus. Irrespective of experience, P. persimilis laid fewer eggs in choice situations with the high- rather than low-risk IG predator. Our study suggests that, similar to classical predation, IGP may select for sophisticated innate and learned interspecific threat-sensitive antipredation responses. We argue that such responses may promote the coexistence of IG predators and prey. PMID:21317973

  4. 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…

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. Predation risk affects reproductive physiology and demography of elk.

    PubMed

    Creel, Scott; Christianson, David; Liley, Stewart; Winnie, John A

    2007-02-16

    Elk (Cervus elaphus) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem alter patterns of aggregation, habitat selection, vigilance, and foraging in the presence of wolves (Canis lupus). Antipredator behaviors like these can reduce predation risk but are also likely to carry costs. Data from five elk populations studied for 16 site years showed that progesterone concentrations (from 1489 fecal samples) declined with the ratio of elk to wolves. In turn, progesterone concentrations were a good predictor of calf recruitment in the subsequent year. Together, these data suggest that wolves indirectly affect the reproductive physiology and the demography of elk through the costs of antipredator behavior. PMID:17303746

  9. Predation risk as a driving force for phenotypic assortment: a cross-population comparison.

    PubMed

    Croft, D P; Darden, S K; Ruxton, G D

    2009-05-22

    Frequency-dependent predation has been proposed as a general mechanism driving the phenotypic assortment of social groups via the 'oddity effect', which occurs when the presence of odd individuals in a group allows a predator to fixate on a single prey item, increasing the predator's attack-to-kill ratio. However, the generality of the oddity effect has been debated and, previously, there has not been an ecological assessment of the role of predation risk in driving the phenotypic assortment of social groups. Here, we compare the levels of body length assortment of social groups between populations of the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata) that experience differences in predation risk. As predicted by the oddity effect hypothesis, we observe phenotypic assortment by body length to be greater under high predation risk. However, we found that a number of low-predation populations were also significantly assorted by body length, suggesting that other mechanisms may have a role to play.

  10. 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.

  11. A test of maternal programming of offspring stress response to predation risk in threespine sticklebacks.

    PubMed

    Mommer, Brett C; Bell, Alison M

    2013-10-01

    Non-genetic maternal effects are widespread across taxa and challenge our traditional understanding of inheritance. Maternal experience with predators, for example, can have lifelong consequences for offspring traits, including fitness. Previous work in threespine sticklebacks showed that females exposed to simulated predation risk produced eggs with higher cortisol content and offspring with altered anti-predator behavior. However, it is unknown whether this maternal effect is mediated via the offspring glucocorticoid stress response and if it is retained over the entire lifetime of offspring. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that maternal exposure to simulated predation risk has long-lasting effects on the cortisol response to simulated predation risk in stickleback offspring. We measured circulating concentrations of cortisol before (baseline), 15 min after, and 60 min after exposure to a simulated predation risk. We compared adult offspring of predator-exposed mothers and control mothers in two different social environments (alone or in a group). Relative to baseline, offspring plasma cortisol was highest 15 min after exposure to simulated predation risk and decreased after 60 min. Offspring of predator-exposed mothers differed in the cortisol response to simulated predation risk compared to offspring of control mothers. In general, females had higher cortisol than males, and fish in a group had lower cortisol than fish that were by themselves. The buffering effect of the social environment did not differ between maternal treatments or between males and females. Altogether the results show that while a mother's experience with simulated predation risk might affect the physiological response of her adult offspring to a predator, sex and social isolation have much larger effects on the stress response to predation risk in sticklebacks.

  12. Plant Defenses and Predation Risk Differentially Shape Patterns of Consumption, Growth, and Digestive Efficiency in a Guild of Leaf-Chewing Insects

    PubMed Central

    Kaplan, Ian; McArt, Scott H.; Thaler, Jennifer S.

    2014-01-01

    Herbivores are squeezed between the two omnipresent threats of variable food quality and natural enemy attack, but these two factors are not independent of one another. The mechanisms by which organisms navigate the dual challenges of foraging while avoiding predation are poorly understood. We tested the effects of plant defense and predation risk on herbivory in an assemblage of leaf-chewing insects on Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) that included two Solanaceae specialists (Manduca sexta and Leptinotarsa decemlineata) and one generalist (Trichoplusia ni). Defenses were altered using genetic manipulations of the jasmonate phytohormonal cascade, whereas predation risk was assessed by exposing herbivores to cues from the predaceous stink bug, Podisus maculiventris. Predation risk reduced herbivore food intake by an average of 29% relative to predator-free controls. Interestingly, this predator-mediated impact on foraging behavior largely attenuated when quantified in terms of individual growth rate. Only one of the three species experienced lower body weight under predation risk and the magnitude of this effect was small (17% reduction) compared with effects on foraging behavior. Manduca sexta larvae, compensated for their predator-induced reduction in food intake by more effectively converting leaf tissue to body mass. They also had higher whole-body lipid content when exposed to predators, suggesting that individuals convert energy to storage forms to draw upon when risk subsides. In accordance with expectations based on insect diet breadth, plant defenses tended to have a stronger impact on consumption and growth in the generalist than the two specialists. These data both confirm the ecological significance of predators in the foraging behavior of herbivorous prey and demonstrate how sophisticated compensatory mechanisms allow foragers to partially offset the detrimental effects of reduced food intake. The fact that these mechanisms operated across a wide range of

  13. A meta-analysis of predation risk effects on pollinator behaviour.

    PubMed

    Romero, Gustavo Q; Antiqueira, Pablo A P; Koricheva, Julia

    2011-01-01

    Flower-visiting animals are constantly under predation risk when foraging and hence might be expected to evolve behavioural adaptations to avoid predators. We reviewed the available published and unpublished data to assess the overall effects of predators on pollinator behaviour and to examine sources of variation in these effects. The results of our meta-analysis showed that predation risk significantly decreased flower visitation rates (by 36%) and time spent on flowers (by 51%) by pollinators. The strength of the predator effects depended neither on predator taxa and foraging mode (sit-and-wait or active hunters) nor on pollinator lifestyle (social vs. solitary). However, predator effects differed among pollinator taxa: predator presence reduced flower visitation rates and time spent on flowers by Squamata, Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera, but not by Diptera. Furthermore, larger pollinators showed weaker responses to predation risk, probably because they are more difficult to capture. Presence of live crab spiders on flowers had weaker effects on pollinator behaviour than presence of dead or artificial crab spiders or other objects (e.g. dead bees, spheres), suggesting that predator crypsis may be effective to some extent. These results add to a growing consensus on the importance of considering both predator and pollinator characteristics from a community perspective.

  14. A Meta-Analysis of Predation Risk Effects on Pollinator Behaviour

    PubMed Central

    Romero, Gustavo Q.; Antiqueira, Pablo A. P.; Koricheva, Julia

    2011-01-01

    Flower-visiting animals are constantly under predation risk when foraging and hence might be expected to evolve behavioural adaptations to avoid predators. We reviewed the available published and unpublished data to assess the overall effects of predators on pollinator behaviour and to examine sources of variation in these effects. The results of our meta-analysis showed that predation risk significantly decreased flower visitation rates (by 36%) and time spent on flowers (by 51%) by pollinators. The strength of the predator effects depended neither on predator taxa and foraging mode (sit-and-wait or active hunters) nor on pollinator lifestyle (social vs. solitary). However, predator effects differed among pollinator taxa: predator presence reduced flower visitation rates and time spent on flowers by Squamata, Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera, but not by Diptera. Furthermore, larger pollinators showed weaker responses to predation risk, probably because they are more difficult to capture. Presence of live crab spiders on flowers had weaker effects on pollinator behaviour than presence of dead or artificial crab spiders or other objects (e.g. dead bees, spheres), suggesting that predator crypsis may be effective to some extent. These results add to a growing consensus on the importance of considering both predator and pollinator characteristics from a community perspective. PMID:21695187

  15. Nonconsumptive Predator-Prey Interactions: Sensitivity of the Detritivore Sinella curviseta (Collembola: Entomobryidae) to Cues of Predation Risk From the Spider Pardosa milvina (Araneae: Lycosidae).

    PubMed

    Sitvarin, Michael I; Romanchek, Christian; Rypstra, Ann L

    2015-04-01

    Predators can affect prey indirectly when prey respond to cues indicating a risk of predation by altering activity levels. Changes in prey behavior may cascade through the food web to influence ecosystem function. The response of the collembolan Sinella curviseta Brook (Collembola: Entomobryidae) to cues indicating predation risk (necromones and cues from the wolf spider Pardosa milvina (Hentz) (Araneae: Lycosidae)) was tested. Additionally, necromones and predator cues were paired in a conditioning experiment to determine whether the collembolan could form learned associations. Although collembolans did not alter activity levels in response to predator cues, numerous aspects of behavior differed in the presence of necromones. There was no detectable conditioned response to predator cues after pairing with necromones. These results provide insight into how collembolans perceive and respond to predation threats that vary in information content. Previously detected indirect impacts of predator cues on ecosystem function are likely due to changes in prey other than activity level. PMID:26313189

  16. Nonconsumptive Predator-Prey Interactions: Sensitivity of the Detritivore Sinella curviseta (Collembola: Entomobryidae) to Cues of Predation Risk From the Spider Pardosa milvina (Araneae: Lycosidae).

    PubMed

    Sitvarin, Michael I; Romanchek, Christian; Rypstra, Ann L

    2015-04-01

    Predators can affect prey indirectly when prey respond to cues indicating a risk of predation by altering activity levels. Changes in prey behavior may cascade through the food web to influence ecosystem function. The response of the collembolan Sinella curviseta Brook (Collembola: Entomobryidae) to cues indicating predation risk (necromones and cues from the wolf spider Pardosa milvina (Hentz) (Araneae: Lycosidae)) was tested. Additionally, necromones and predator cues were paired in a conditioning experiment to determine whether the collembolan could form learned associations. Although collembolans did not alter activity levels in response to predator cues, numerous aspects of behavior differed in the presence of necromones. There was no detectable conditioned response to predator cues after pairing with necromones. These results provide insight into how collembolans perceive and respond to predation threats that vary in information content. Previously detected indirect impacts of predator cues on ecosystem function are likely due to changes in prey other than activity level.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. The effects of predation risk on mating system expression in a freshwater snail.

    PubMed

    Auld, Josh R

    2010-12-01

    Environmental effects on mating system expression are central to understanding mating system evolution in nature. Here, I report the results from a quantitative-genetic experiment aimed at understanding the role of predation risk in the expression and evolution of life-history and mating-system traits in a hermaphroditic freshwater snail (Physa acuta). I reared 30 full-sib families in four environments that factorially contrast predation risk and mate availability and measured age/size at first reproduction, growth rate, a morphological defense, and the early survival of outcrossed/selfed eggs that were laid under predator/no-predator conditions. I evaluated the genetic basis of trade-offs among traits and the stability of the G matrix across environments. Mating reduced growth while predation risk increased growth, but the effects of mating were weaker for predator-induced snails and the effects of predation risk were weaker for snails without mates. Predation risk reduced the amount of time that individuals waited before self-fertilizing and reduced inbreeding depression in the offspring. There was a positive among-family relationship between the amount of time that individuals delayed selfing under predation risk and the magnitude of inbreeding depression. These results highlight several potential roles of enemies in mating-system expression and evolution.

  20. Predation risk and the interspecific association of two Brazilian Atlantic forest primates in Cabruca agroforest.

    PubMed

    Oliveira, Leonardo C; Dietz, James M

    2011-09-01

    Forming interspecific associations is one of many strategies adopted by primates in order to avoid predation. In addition to improved predator detection and avoidance, benefits of interspecific associations relate to improved foraging efficiency. In this study we tested these two hypotheses explaining associations between the endangered golden-headed lion tamarin, Leontopithecus chrysomelas and the sympatric Wied's marmoset, Callithrix kuhlii. We estimated predation risk by recording the number of encounters between lion tamarins and potential predators in cabruca agroforest (shaded cacao plantation) and in mosaic forest (a mix of cabruca, primary and secondary forest). To evaluate if the association between the two species was related to foraging benefits we recorded the number of associations between the two species when the lion tamarins were eating and when they were not eating. To test if the association occurred to improve predator detection and avoidance, we evaluated if associations between the species were more frequent in areas with higher predation risk and during the part of the day when predation risk is higher. We also compared the number of associations 3 months before birth events and 3 months after, when the lion tamarins are more susceptible to predation. Predation risk, mainly by raptors, was significantly higher in cabruca than in mosaic forest (0.17 and 0.05 encounters with predators per hour of observation, respectively). Associations were significantly more frequent after birth events and during the part of the day when predation risk was also higher (5-6 am until noon). We did not observe any direct evidence of foraging-related advantages of interspecific associations for the lion tamarins. The tamarins did not associate more when they were foraging. Our findings suggest that lion tamarins are more exposed to predation in cabruca than in mosaic forest and associations between lion tamarins and Wied's marmosets are related to predation

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  8. Linking predator risk and uncertainty to adaptive forgetting: a theoretical framework and empirical test using tadpoles.

    PubMed

    Ferrari, Maud C O; Brown, Grant E; Bortolotti, Gary R; Chivers, Douglas P

    2010-07-22

    Hundreds of studies have examined how prey animals assess their risk of predation. These studies work from the basic tennet that prey need to continually balance the conflicting demands of predator avoidance with activities such as foraging and reproduction. The information that animals gain regarding local predation risk is most often learned. Yet, the concept of 'memory' in the context of predation remains virtually unexplored. Here, our goal was (i) to determine if the memory window associated with predator recognition is fixed or flexible and, if it is flexible, (ii) to identify which factors affect the length of this window and in which ways. We performed an experiment on larval wood frogs, Rana sylvatica, to test whether the risk posed by, and the uncertainty associated with, the predator would affect the length of the tadpoles' memory window. We found that as the risk associated with the predator increases, tadpoles retained predator-related information for longer. Moreover, if the uncertainty about predator-related information increases, then prey use this information for a shorter period. We also present a theoretical framework aiming at highlighting both intrinsic and extrinsic factors that could affect the memory window of information use by prey individuals.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Phenotypic variation and associated predation risk of juvenile common carp Cyprinus carpio.

    PubMed

    Weber, M J; Rounds, K D; Brown, M L

    2012-01-01

    Juvenile common carp Cyprinus carpio were collected from 10 lakes with variable predator abundance over 4 months to evaluate if morphological defences increased with increasing predation risk. Cyprinus carpio dorsal and pectoral spines were longer and body depth was deeper when predators were more abundant, with differences becoming more pronounced from July to October. To determine if morphological plasticity successfully reduced predation risk, prey selection of largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides foraging on deep- and shallow-bodied C. carpio was evaluated in open and vegetated environments. Predators typically selected deep- over shallow-bodied phenotypes in open habitats and neutrally selected both phenotypes in vegetated habitats. When exposed to predators, shallow-bodied C. carpio phenotypes shoaled in open habitat, whereas deep-bodied phenotypes occupied vegetation. Although deep-bodied phenotypes required additional handling time, shallow-bodied phenotypes were more difficult to capture. These results suggest that juvenile C. carpio gradually develop deeper bodies and larger spines as predation risk increases. Morphological defences made it more difficult for predators to consume these prey but resulted in higher vulnerability to predation in some instances. PMID:22220889

  12. How predation risk affects the temporal dynamics of avian leks: greater sage grouse versus golden eagles.

    PubMed

    Boyko, Adam R

    2004-01-01

    Leks often attract predators as well as mates, yet most evolutionary models have assumed that sexual selection, not predation, drives lekking behavior. We explored the influence of predation on lek dynamics using a stochastic dynamic game model based on the lek-breeding greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and its principal avian predator, the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). The model predicts time-dependent male lek attendance as a function of factors affecting both mating success (female arrival rate, male numbers, and social status) and predation risk (eagle arrival rate and group size). Dominant males are predicted to arrive sooner and leave later than subordinates, especially if mating skew is high, predation risk is low, or the relationship between lek size and female arrival rate is weak. Both high mean levels of predation risk and small lek size should reduce lek attendance, but the relative tendency of predators to attack large versus small leks has little influence on predicted lekking behavior. Field observations confirmed the predicted effects of female arrival rate, lek size, male dominance, and weather-dependent predator arrival rates on lek departure times. Predicted effects of female arrival rates and male dominance on seasonal lek attendance were also supported. Our model provides an empirically supported adaptive explanation for short-term lek dynamics. It also suggests alternative interpretations for phenomena previously invoked to support the hotshot and skew models of lek formation.

  13. How predation risk affects the temporal dynamics of avian leks: greater sage grouse versus golden eagles.

    PubMed

    Boyko, Adam R

    2004-01-01

    Leks often attract predators as well as mates, yet most evolutionary models have assumed that sexual selection, not predation, drives lekking behavior. We explored the influence of predation on lek dynamics using a stochastic dynamic game model based on the lek-breeding greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and its principal avian predator, the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). The model predicts time-dependent male lek attendance as a function of factors affecting both mating success (female arrival rate, male numbers, and social status) and predation risk (eagle arrival rate and group size). Dominant males are predicted to arrive sooner and leave later than subordinates, especially if mating skew is high, predation risk is low, or the relationship between lek size and female arrival rate is weak. Both high mean levels of predation risk and small lek size should reduce lek attendance, but the relative tendency of predators to attack large versus small leks has little influence on predicted lekking behavior. Field observations confirmed the predicted effects of female arrival rate, lek size, male dominance, and weather-dependent predator arrival rates on lek departure times. Predicted effects of female arrival rates and male dominance on seasonal lek attendance were also supported. Our model provides an empirically supported adaptive explanation for short-term lek dynamics. It also suggests alternative interpretations for phenomena previously invoked to support the hotshot and skew models of lek formation. PMID:14767844

  14. Behavioral adjustments of African herbivores to predation risk by lions: spatiotemporal variations influence habitat use.

    PubMed

    Valeix, M; Loveridge, A J; Chamaillé-Jammes, S; Davidson, Z; Murindagomo, F; Fritz, H; Macdonald, D W

    2009-01-01

    Predators may influence their prey populations not only through direct lethal effects, but also through indirect behavioral changes. Here, we combined spatiotemporal fine-scale data from GPS radio collars on lions with habitat use information on 11 African herbivores in Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe) to test whether the risk of predation by lions influenced the distribution of herbivores in the landscape. Effects of long-term risk of predation (likelihood of lion presence calculated over four months) and short-term risk of predation (actual presence of lions in the vicinity in the preceding 24 hours) were contrasted. The long-term risk of predation by lions appeared to influence the distributions of all browsers across the landscape, but not of grazers. This result strongly suggests that browsers and grazers, which face different ecological constraints, are influenced at different spatial and temporal scales in the variation of the risk of predation by lions. The results also show that all herbivores tend to use more open habitats preferentially when lions are in their vicinity, probably an effective anti-predator behavior against such an ambush predator. Behaviorally induced effects of lions may therefore contribute significantly to structuring African herbivore communities, and hence possibly their effects on savanna ecosystems.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Risk induced by a native top predator reduces alien mink movements.

    PubMed

    Salo, Pälvi; Nordström, Mikael; Thomson, Robert L; Korpimäki, Erkki

    2008-11-01

    1. Nonlethal predation effects may have stronger impacts on prey populations than direct predation impacts, and this should also apply to intraguild predation. The consequences of such interactions become especially important if invasive, and potentially destructive alien predators act as intraguild prey. 2. We studied the predation-risk impacts of a re-colonizing native top predator, Haliaeetus albicilla (white-tailed sea eagle), on the movements of Mustela vison (American mink), an alien predator in Europe. We radiocollared 20 mink in two study areas in the outer archipelago of the Baltic Sea, South-west Finland, during 2004 and 2005. In the archipelago, mink home ranges incorporate many islands, and mink are most predisposed to eagle predation while swimming between islands. Observed swimming distances of mink were compared to distances expected at random, and deviations from random swimming were explained by mink distance from nearest eagle nest, number of eagle observations near mink location, and mink home-range size. 3. Mink reduced their swimming distances with increasing sea eagle predation risk: for females, the reduction was 10% for an increase of 10 eagle observations, and 5% for each kilometre towards an eagle nest. Conclusions for males were restricted by their small sample size. 4. Our results suggest that female mink modify their behaviour according to eagle predation risk, which may reduce their population growth and have long-term cascading effects on lower trophic levels including bird, mammal and amphibian populations in the archipelago. Ecosystem restoration by bringing back the top predators may be one way of mitigating alien predator effects on native biota. PMID:18624744

  18. Reinforcing effects of non-pathogenic bacteria and predation risk: from physiology to life history.

    PubMed

    Janssens, Lizanne; Stoks, Robby

    2014-10-01

    The important ecological role of predation risk in shaping populations, communities and ecosystems is becoming increasingly clear. In this context, synergistic effects between predation risk and other natural stressors on prey organisms are gaining attention. Although non-pathogenic bacteria can be widespread in aquatic ecosystems, their role in mediating effects of predation risk has been ignored. We here address the hypothesis that non-pathogenic bacteria may reinforce the negative effects of predation risk in larvae of the damselfly Coenagrion puella. We found synergistic effects for all three life history variables studied: mortality increased, growth reductions were magnified and bacterial load was higher when both non-lethal stressors were combined. The combined exposure to the bacterium and predation risk considerably impaired the two key antipredator mechanisms of the damselfly larvae: they no longer reduced their food intake under predation risk and showed a synergistic reduction in escape swimming speed. The reinforcing negative effects on the fitness-related traits could be explained by the observed synergistic effects on food intake, swimming muscle mass, immune function and oxidative damage. These are likely widespread consequences of energetic constraints and increased metabolic rates associated with the fight-or-flight response. We therefore hypothesize that the here documented synergistic interactions with non-pathogenic bacteria may be widespread. Our results highlight the ignored ecological role of non-pathogenic bacteria in reinforcing the negative effects of predation risk on prey organisms.

  19. Reinforcing effects of non-pathogenic bacteria and predation risk: from physiology to life history.

    PubMed

    Janssens, Lizanne; Stoks, Robby

    2014-10-01

    The important ecological role of predation risk in shaping populations, communities and ecosystems is becoming increasingly clear. In this context, synergistic effects between predation risk and other natural stressors on prey organisms are gaining attention. Although non-pathogenic bacteria can be widespread in aquatic ecosystems, their role in mediating effects of predation risk has been ignored. We here address the hypothesis that non-pathogenic bacteria may reinforce the negative effects of predation risk in larvae of the damselfly Coenagrion puella. We found synergistic effects for all three life history variables studied: mortality increased, growth reductions were magnified and bacterial load was higher when both non-lethal stressors were combined. The combined exposure to the bacterium and predation risk considerably impaired the two key antipredator mechanisms of the damselfly larvae: they no longer reduced their food intake under predation risk and showed a synergistic reduction in escape swimming speed. The reinforcing negative effects on the fitness-related traits could be explained by the observed synergistic effects on food intake, swimming muscle mass, immune function and oxidative damage. These are likely widespread consequences of energetic constraints and increased metabolic rates associated with the fight-or-flight response. We therefore hypothesize that the here documented synergistic interactions with non-pathogenic bacteria may be widespread. Our results highlight the ignored ecological role of non-pathogenic bacteria in reinforcing the negative effects of predation risk on prey organisms. PMID:25103326

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Retention of neophobic predator recognition in juvenile convict cichlids: effects of background risk and recent experience.

    PubMed

    Brown, Grant E; Demers, Ebony E; Joyce, Brendan J; Ferrari, Maud C O; Chivers, Douglas P

    2015-11-01

    Exposure to conditions of elevated predation risk, even for relatively short periods, has been shown to induce neophobic responses to novel predators. Such phenotypically plastic responses should allow prey to exhibit costly anti-predator behaviour to novel cues only in situations where the risk of predation is high. While there is evidence that the level of background risk shapes the strength of induced neophobia, we know little about how long neophobic responses are retained. Here we exposed juvenile convict cichlids (Amatitlania nigrofasciata) to three background levels of short-term background risk and then tested their responses to novel predator odours. Cichlids exposed to low risk did not show neophobic responses, while those exposed to intermediate and high risk did. Using extinction trials, we demonstrate that the retention of neophobic responses is greater among cichlids exposed to high versus intermediate predation risk conditions. Moreover, we found much longer retention of the neophobic responses when cichlids were tested a single time compared to when they were tested repeatedly in the extinction trials. This work supports the prediction that neophobic responses to specific odours are relatively long lasting but can quickly wane if the cues are experienced repeatedly without them being associated with risk. It is clear that background level of risk and the frequency of exposure to novel cues are crucial factors in determining the retention of risk-related information among prey.

  4. Glucocorticoid stress hormones and the effect of predation risk on elk reproduction.

    PubMed

    Creel, Scott; Winnie, John A; Christianson, David

    2009-07-28

    Predators affect prey demography through direct predation and through the costs of antipredator behavioral responses, or risk effects. Experiments have shown that risk effects can comprise a substantial proportion of a predator's total effect on prey dynamics, but we know little about their strength in wild populations, or the physiological mechanisms that mediate them. When wolves are present, elk alter their grouping patterns, vigilance, foraging behavior, habitat selection, and diet. These responses are associated with decreased progesterone levels, decreased calf production, and reduced population size [Creel S, Christianson D, Liley S, Winnie JA (2007) Science 315:960]. Two general mechanisms for the effect of predation risk on reproduction have been proposed: the predation stress hypothesis and the predator-sensitive-food hypothesis. Here, we used enzyme immunoassay to measure fecal glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations for 1,205 samples collected from 4 elk populations over 4 winters to test the hypothesis that the effect of predation risk on elk reproduction is mediated by chronic stress. Across populations and years, fecal glucocorticoid concentrations were not related to predator-prey ratios, progesterone concentrations or calf-cow ratios. Overall, the effect of wolf presence on elk reproduction is better explained by changes in foraging patterns that carry nutritional costs than by changes in glucocorticoid concentrations. PMID:19617549

  5. Glucocorticoid stress hormones and the effect of predation risk on elk reproduction

    PubMed Central

    Creel, Scott; Winnie, John A.; Christianson, David

    2009-01-01

    Predators affect prey demography through direct predation and through the costs of antipredator behavioral responses, or risk effects. Experiments have shown that risk effects can comprise a substantial proportion of a predator's total effect on prey dynamics, but we know little about their strength in wild populations, or the physiological mechanisms that mediate them. When wolves are present, elk alter their grouping patterns, vigilance, foraging behavior, habitat selection, and diet. These responses are associated with decreased progesterone levels, decreased calf production, and reduced population size [Creel S, Christianson D, Liley S, Winnie JA (2007) Science 315:960]. Two general mechanisms for the effect of predation risk on reproduction have been proposed: the predation stress hypothesis and the predator-sensitive-food hypothesis. Here, we used enzyme immunoassay to measure fecal glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations for 1,205 samples collected from 4 elk populations over 4 winters to test the hypothesis that the effect of predation risk on elk reproduction is mediated by chronic stress. Across populations and years, fecal glucocorticoid concentrations were not related to predator-prey ratios, progesterone concentrations or calf-cow ratios. Overall, the effect of wolf presence on elk reproduction is better explained by changes in foraging patterns that carry nutritional costs than by changes in glucocorticoid concentrations. PMID:19617549

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. Carryover effects of predation risk on postembryonic life-history stages in a freshwater shrimp.

    PubMed

    Ituarte, Romina Belén; Vázquez, María Guadalupe; González-Sagrario, María de los Ángeles; Spivak, Eduardo Daniel

    2014-04-01

    For organisms with complex life histories it is well known that risk experienced early in life, as embryos or larvae, may have effects throughout the life cycle. Although carryover effects have been well documented in invertebrates with different levels of parental care, there are few examples of predator-induced responses in externally brooded embryos. Here, we studied the effects of nonlethal predation risk throughout the embryonic development of newly spawned eggs carried by female shrimp on the timing of egg hatching, hatchling morphology, larval development and juvenile morphology. We also determined maternal body mass at the end of the embryonic period. Exposure to predation risk cues during embryonic development led to larger larvae which also had longer rostra but reached the juvenile stage sooner, at a smaller size and with shorter rostra. There was no difference in hatching timing, but changes in larval morphology and developmental timing showed that the embryos had perceived waterborne substances indicative of predation risk. In addition to carryover effects on larval and juvenile stages, predation threat provoked a decrease of body mass in mothers exposed to predator cues while brooding. Our results suggest that risk-exposed embryos were able to recognize the same infochemicals as their mothers, manifesting a response in the free-living larval stage. Thus, future studies assessing anti-predator phenotypes should include embryonic development, which seems to determine the morphology and developmental time of subsequent life-history stages according to perceived environmental conditions.

  12. 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.

  13. Harvesting creates ecological traps: consequences of invisible mortality risks in predator-prey metacommunities.

    PubMed

    Abrams, Peter A; Ruokolainen, Lasse; Shuter, Brian J; McCann, Kevin S

    2012-02-01

    Models of two-patch predator-prey metacommunities are used to explore how the global predator population changes in response to additional mortality in one of the patches. This could describe the dynamics of a predator in an environment that includes a refuge area where that predator is protected and a spatially distinct ("risky") area where it is harvested. The predator's movement is based on its perceived fitness in the two patches, but the risk from the additional mortality is potentially undetectable; this often occurs when the mortality is from human harvesting or from a novel type of top predator. Increases in undetected mortality in the risky area can produce an abrupt collapse of either the refuge population or of the entire predator population when the mortality rate exceeds a threshold level. This is due to the attraction of the risky patch, which has abundant prey due to its high predator mortality. Extinction of the refuge predator population does not occur when the refuge patch has a higher maximum per capita predator growth rate than the exploited patch because the refuge is then more attractive when the predator is rare. The possibility of abrupt extinction of one or both patches from high densities in response to a small increase in harvest is often associated with alternative states. In such cases, large reductions in mortality may be needed to avoid extinction in a collapsing predator population, or to reestablish an extinct population. Our analysis provides a potential explanation for sudden collapses of harvested populations, and it argues for more consideration of adaptive movement in designing protected areas.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. How climate change might influence the starvation-predation risk trade-off response.

    PubMed

    Cresswell, W; Clark, J A; Macleod, R

    2009-10-01

    Climate change within the UK will affect winter starvation risk because higher temperatures reduce energy budgets and are likely to increase the quality of the foraging environment. Mass regulation in birds is a consequence of the starvation-predation risk trade-off: decreasing starvation risk because of climate change should decrease mass, but this will be countered by the effects of predation risk, because high predation risk has a negative effect on mass when foraging conditions are poor and a positive effect on mass when foraging conditions are good. We tested whether mass regulation in great tits (Parus major) across the UK was related to temporal changes in starvation risk (winter temperature 1995-2005) and spatial changes in predation risk (sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus abundance). As predicted, great tits carried less mass during later, warmer, winters, demonstrating that starvation risk overall has decreased. Also, the effects of predation risk interacted with the effects of temperature (as an index of foraging conditions), so that in colder winters higher sparrowhawk abundance led to lower mass, whereas in warmer, later, winters higher sparrowhawk abundance led to higher mass. Mass regulation in a small bird species may therefore provide an index of how environmental change is affecting the foraging environment.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. To breed, or not to breed? Predation risk induces breeding suppression in common voles.

    PubMed

    Jochym, Mateusz; Halle, Stefan

    2012-12-01

    Breeding suppression hypothesis (BSH) predicts that, in several vole species, females will suppress breeding in response to high risk of mustelid predation; compared to breeding females, suppressing females would gain higher chances of survival. Seminal evidence for BSH was obtained in the laboratory, but attempts to replicate breeding suppression under field conditions were less conclusive. We tested whether breeding suppression occurs in common voles (Microtus arvalis), and how population density and predation risk combined affect voles' reproductive activity. We found that, in contrast to males, female common voles suppress reproductive activity when faced with high predation risk. Population size was not reduced despite breeding suppression. A model of the interaction between predation risk and population density revealed that predator-induced breeding suppression depends on the density of conspecifics. We concluded that breeding suppression is a viable adaptation only at low vole densities, when per capita predation risk is high. Finally, we identified the key issues of experimental design required for the consistency of future studies on breeding suppression. PMID:22700062

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Predators as stressors? Physiological and reproductive consequences of predation risk in tropical stonechats (Saxicola torquata axillaris).

    PubMed

    Scheuerlein, A; Van't Hof, T J; Gwinner, E

    2001-08-01

    Tropical birds usually lay smaller clutches and are less likely to initiate a second brood than their temperate-zone relatives. This reduction in annual fecundity is generally explained as an adaptation either to higher rates of nest predation or to a more limited food supply concurrent with higher adult survival in the tropics. However, the physiological parameters associated with lower annual fecundity in tropical birds have not been well investigated. We compared the annual fecundity, behaviour and a number of physiological parameters of stonechat parents feeding fledged juveniles in territories with and without fiscal shrikes, a predator on adult and fledged birds. Stonechat pairs in territories with shrikes were less likely to initiate a second brood and delayed successive broods compared to pairs in territories without shrikes. After fledging of their young, males showed a greater propensity than females to initiate distraction calls after a human intrusion into their territory and, therefore, invested more in the defence of their young. In territories with shrikes stonechat males had higher initial plasma corticosterone levels and lower body conditions than males in territories without shrikes, suggesting that they were chronically stressed. In contrast, the females from both types of territory had low initial plasma corticosterone levels. We conclude that shrike presence might account for the delay in initiation of a second brood and the reduction in the tendency to initiate a second brood. Whether these effects are mediated by the elevated levels of corticosterone remains to be demonstrated.

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

    PubMed Central

    DeCesare, Nicholas J.

    2012-01-01

    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

  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. 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.

  18. Applying behavioral-ecological theory to plant defense: light-dependent movement in Mimosa pudica suggests a trade-off between predation risk and energetic reward.

    PubMed

    Jensen, Evelyn L; Dill, Lawrence M; Cahill, James F

    2011-03-01

    Many animal species tolerate different amounts of predation risk based on environmental conditions and the individual's own condition, often accepting greater risk when energetically stressed. We studied the sensitive plant Mimosa pudica to see whether it too accepts greater risk of predation when less light energy is available. This plant displays a defensive behavior of rapidly folding its leaves when stimulated by touch, thereby decreasing visibility to herbivores. Averting herbivory involves a trade-off because leaf closure results in a reduction in light foraging. We manipulated the light environment of individual M. pudica plants and recorded the time it took a plant to reopen its leaves following stimulation as a measure of tolerance of predation risk. As predicted by theory, avoidance behavior was sustained longer under high light conditions than under more light-limited conditions. These findings suggest this species balances the risk and reward of antiherbivore behavior in relation to current environmental conditions and that behavioral-ecological theory is a useful framework for understanding plant responses to predators.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-22

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-22

    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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-03-01

    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. 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. 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. 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. Predation risk was an additive source of hazard

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Wolf predation risk associated with white-tailed deer movements

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nelson, M.E.; Mech, L.D.

    1991-01-01

    The survival of 159 yearling and adult deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was monitored by telemetry during 282 spring and 219 fall individual migrations to winter deeryards in northeastern Minnesota. A disproportionate number of deer were killed by wolves (Canis lupus) during fall migration relative to the short time they spent migrating, but not during spring migration. Predation was also significantly greater for male and female yearlings and adult females outside deeryards during winter. Survival of 79 yearlings dispersing from natal ranges was high (1.00). It appears that changing climatic conditions combined with unfamiliar terrain and undetermined factors predispose migratory deer to wolf predation during fall. These findings support an earlier hypothesis that winter yarding is an antipredator strategy.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. What Cues Do Ungulates Use to Assess Predation Risk in Dense Temperate Forests?

    PubMed Central

    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

  16. 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

  17. Relaxed predation risk reduces but does not eliminate sociality in birds.

    PubMed

    Beauchamp, Guy

    2010-08-23

    Disentangling the relative contribution of predation avoidance and increased foraging efficiency in the evolution of sociality in animals has proven difficult given that the two types of benefits often operate concurrently. I identified different types of refuges from predation in birds related to morphological and ecological traits, providing an opportunity to examine concomitant changes in sociality over evolutionary times. Results of a matched-species comparative analysis indicated a reduction in the size of foraging or non-foraging groups but not complete disappearance under negligible predation risk. The results suggest that while predation avoidance is an important component in the evolution of sociality in birds, it is most probably not acting alone but rather in conjunction with other benefits such as increased foraging efficiency.

  18. 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.

  19. Field Assessment of the Predation Risk - Food Availability Trade-Off in Crab Megalopae Settlement

    PubMed Central

    Tapia-Lewin, Sebastián; Pardo, Luis Miguel

    2014-01-01

    Settlement is a key process for meroplanktonic organisms as it determines distribution of adult populations. Starvation and predation are two of the main mortality causes during this period; therefore, settlement tends to be optimized in microhabitats with high food availability and low predator density. Furthermore, brachyuran megalopae actively select favorable habitats for settlement, via chemical, visual and/or tactile cues. The main objective in this study was to assess the settlement of Metacarcinus edwardsii and Cancer plebejus under different combinations of food availability levels and predator presence. We determined, in the field, which factor is of greater relative importance when choosing a suitable microhabitat for settling. Passive larval collectors were deployed, crossing different scenarios of food availability and predator presence. We also explore if megalopae actively choose predator-free substrates in response to visual and/or chemical cues. We tested the response to combined visual and chemical cues and to each individually. Data was tested using a two-way factorial design ANOVA. In both species, food did not cause significant effect on settlement success, but predator presence did, therefore there was not trade-off in this case and megalopae respond strongly to predation risk by active aversion. Larvae of M. edwardsii responded to chemical and visual cues simultaneously, but there was no response to either cue by itself. Statistically, C. plebejus did not exhibit a differential response to cues, but reacted with a strong similar tendency as M. edwardsii. We concluded that crab megalopae actively select predator-free microhabitat, independently of food availability, using chemical and visual cues combined. The findings in this study highlight the great relevance of predation on the settlement process and recruitment of marine invertebrates with complex life cycles. PMID:24748151

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

    PubMed

    Touchon, Justin C; Worley, Julie L

    2015-06-01

    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

  1. 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

  2. Interpopulation and context-related differences in responses of a marine gastropod to predation risk.

    PubMed

    Rochette; Maltais; Dill; Himmelman

    1999-04-01

    We conducted laboratory experiments to investigate interpopulation differences in the behavioural responses of the whelk Buccinum undatum to the predatory lobster Homarus americanus and the asteroid Leptasterias polaris, both in the absence and presence of feeding opportunities. Whelks from three populations in the eastern North Atlantic (1) responded to lobsters by displaying avoidance behaviours (burrowing in the sediments or retreating inside their shell), (2) responded to asteroids by displaying escape responses (rapid crawling, shell rocking behaviour or foot contortions), and (3) more often refrained from feeding in the presence of a lobster than in the presence of an asteroid. Although whelks from the three populations responded similarly to lobsters and asteroids, interpopulation differences were evident. Thus, whelks from populations sympatric with a given predator more frequently displayed 'appropriate' antipredator behaviours (i.e. avoidance in the presence of a lobster, and escape in the presence of an asteroid) than did whelks allopatric with that predator. Also, whelks from a population sympatric with both predators fed less readily in the presence of a given predator than did whelks allopatric with that predator. However, the presence of a lobster or an asteroid had the same impact on the feeding response of whelks from two populations with contrasting predator fields, one sympatric with lobsters, but allopatric with asteroids, and one sympatric with asteroids, but allopatric with lobsters. The results of our study indicate that coexistence (over evolutionary or ecological time) with lobsters and asteroids increases the propensity of the whelk to display avoidance and escape behaviours in the presence of lobsters and asteroids, respectively, but has a less predictable effect on how whelks trade off predation risk and food acquisition. Studies are needed to investigate the roles of inheritance and experience on the development of antipredator

  3. 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

  4. Evidence of the trade-off between starvation and predation risks in ducks.

    PubMed

    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.

  5. 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

  6. Adaptive plasticity in hatching age: a response to predation risk trade-offs.

    PubMed Central

    Warkentin, K M

    1995-01-01

    The life histories of many animals are characterized by niche shifts, the timing of which can strongly affect fitness. In the tree frog Agalychnis callidryas, which has arboreal eggs, there is a trade-off between predation risks before and after hatching. When eggs are attacked by snakes, tadpoles escape by hatching rapidly and falling into the water below. Eggs not attacked by snakes hatch later, when newly emerged tadpoles are less vulnerable to aquatic predators. Plasticity in hatching allows embryos to use immediate, local information on risk of mortality to make instantaneous behavioral decisions about hatching and the accompanying shift from arboreal to aquatic habitats. Images Fig. 3 PMID:11607529

  7. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Choi, June-Seek; Kim, Jeansok J

    2010-12-14

    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.

  9. 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

  10. Chemical communication of predation risk in zebrafish does not depend on cortisol increase

    PubMed Central

    Barcellos, Leonardo J. G.; Koakoski, Gessi; da Rosa, João G. S.; Ferreira, Daiane; Barreto, Rodrigo E.; Giaquinto, Percília C.; Volpato, Gilson L.

    2014-01-01

    We investigated chemical cues among groups of zebrafish (Danio rerio) when communicating information about the risk of predation. We found that visual cues of the predator (tiger Oscar, Astronotus ocellatus) did not increase whole-body cortisol levels in groups of zebrafish but that water conditioned by these (donor) zebrafish stressed (target) conspecifics, thereby increasing whole-body cortisol. This finding was confirmed when these zebrafish groups were in different aquaria and communicated exclusively via water transfer. This result indicates that the stress induced in the target zebrafish does not depend on an increase in whole-body cortisol levels in the donor zebrafish. Because cortisol participation is rejected in this predation-risk communication, other chemicals from the stress systems should be investigated. PMID:24861706

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Risky business: do native rodents use habitat and odor cues to manage predation risk in Australian deserts?

    PubMed

    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.

  15. 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

  16. Risky business: do native rodents use habitat and odor cues to manage predation risk in Australian deserts?

    PubMed

    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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Mass-dependent predation risk and lethal dolphin–porpoise interactions

    PubMed Central

    MacLeod, R; MacLeod, C.D; Learmonth, J.A; Jepson, P.D; Reid, R.J; Deaville, R; Pierce, G.J

    2007-01-01

    In small birds, mass-dependent predation risk (MDPR) is known to make the trade-off between avoiding starvation and avoiding predation dependent on individual mass. This occurs because carrying increased fat reserves not only reduces starvation risk but also results in a higher predation risk due to reduced escape flight performance and/or the increased foraging exposure needed to maintain a higher body mass. In principle, the theory of MDPR could also apply to any animal capable of storing energy reserves to reduce starvation and whose escape performance decreases with increasing mass. We used a unique situation along certain parts of coastal Britain, where harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) are pursued and killed but crucially not eaten by bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), to investigate whether a MDPR effect can occur in non-avian species. We show that where high levels of dolphin ‘predation’ occur, porpoises carry significantly less energy reserves than would otherwise be expected and this equates to reducing by approximately 37% the length of time that a porpoise could survive without feeding. These results provide the first evidence that a mass-dependent starvation–predation risk trade-off may be a general ecological principle that can apply to widely different animal types rather than, as is currently thought, only to birds. PMID:17698485

  1. 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

  2. Perceived Risk of Predation Affects Reproductive Life-History Traits in Gambusia holbrooki, but Not in Heterandria formosa

    PubMed Central

    Mukherjee, Shomen; Heithaus, Michael R.; Trexler, Joel C.; Ray-Mukherjee, Jayanti; Vaudo, Jeremy

    2014-01-01

    Key to predicting impacts of predation is understanding the mechanisms through which predators impact prey populations. While consumptive effects are well-known, non-consumptive predator effects (risk effects) are increasingly being recognized as important. Studies of risk effects, however, have focused largely on how trade-offs between food and safety affect fitness. Less documented, and appreciated, is the potential for predator presence to directly suppress prey reproduction and affect life-history characteristics. For the first time, we tested the effects of visual predator cues on reproduction of two prey species with different reproductive modes, lecithotrophy (i.e. embryonic development primarily fueled by yolk) and matrotrophy (i.e. energy for embryonic development directly supplied by the mother to the embryo through a vascular connection). Predation risk suppressed reproduction in the lecithotrophic prey (Gambusia holbrokii) but not the matrotroph (Heterandria formosa). Predator stress caused G. holbrooki to reduce clutch size by 43%, and to produce larger and heavier offspring compared to control females. H. formosa, however, did not show any such difference. In G. holbrooki we also found a significantly high percentage (14%) of stillbirths in predator-exposed treatments compared to controls (2%). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first direct empirical evidence of predation stress affecting stillbirths in prey. Our results suggest that matrotrophy, superfetation (clutch overlap), or both decrease the sensitivity of mothers to environmental fluctuation in resource (food) and stress (predation risk) levels compared to lecithotrophy. These mechanisms should be considered both when modeling consequences of perceived risk of predation on prey-predator population dynamics and when seeking to understand the evolution of reproductive modes. PMID:24551171

  3. Guardian or threat: does golden eagle predation risk have cascading effects on forest grouse?

    PubMed

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

    2016-10-01

    Previous studies on intraguild predation have mainly focused on within-class assemblages, even though avian top predators may also influence mammalian mesopredator prey. By using nation-wide long-term data from Finland, northern Europe, we examined the impacts of golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) together with red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and pine martens (Martes martes) on forest-dwelling herbivores, black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) and hazel grouse (Tetrastes bonasia). We hypothesized that eagles may alleviate the overall predation pressure on grouse by imposing intraguild predation risk on mesopredators. The predation impact of eagle was modelled using eagle density estimates and distance to eagle nest. Wildlife triangle counts were used as predation impact proxies of mammalian mesopredators and as measures of response in grouse. Our results show that eagle density correlated negatively with black grouse abundance indices while being positively associated with the proportion of juveniles in both grouse species, irrespective of the abundance of mesopredators. Yet, foxes and martens alone had a negative effect on the abundance indices and the proportion of young in the two grouse species. This suggests that the possible cascading effects of eagles are not mediated by decreased mesopredator numbers, but instead by fear effects. Alternatively, they may be mediated by other species than fox or marten studied here. In conclusion, we found support for the hypothesis that eagles provide protection for juvenile black and hazel grouse, whereas they are a threat for adult grouse. This important information helps us to better understand the role of avian top predators in terrestrial ecosystems. PMID:27342659

  4. 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.

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-03-01

    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. 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. 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. 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. Predation risk was an additive source of hazard

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. The effect of predation risk on spermatophore deposition rate of the eriophyoid mite, Aculops allotrichus.

    PubMed

    Michalska, Katarzyna

    2016-02-01

    Eriophyoids are minute herbivores in which males deposit spermatophores on a substrate while females, independent of the presence of males, pick up sperm (sex dissociation). Their most dangerous enemies are phytoseiid mites. Eriophyoids can successfully avoid the predation by, e.g., forming galls in which they live, by inhabiting narrow spaces on plants, or by climbing up leaf trichomes for the time of quiescence. All these behaviours, however, are fixed and independent of the actual risk of predation. The aim of this study was to examine whether eriophyoids can respond to the cues of predation risk and how this could affect their spermatophore deposition rate. Aculops allotrichus is a vagrant eriophyoid which inhabits leaves of the black locust tree, Robinia pseudoacacia. On leaf arenas with injured conspecifics (pierced with a fine needle which simulated the attack of phytoseiids), single males of Ac. allotrichus deposited a similar number of spermatophores as on control, 'clean' leaves. They did not respond to the cues left by the non-enemy, yeast-fed acarid mite Tyrophagus putrescentiae either. However, they deposited significantly fewer spermatophores on leaf arenas previously exposed to the presence of the eriophyoid-fed phytoseiid mite Amblyseius swirskii. This is a first report indicating that eriophyoids can respond to the cues left by predators and change their reproductive activity accordingly. The ultimate and proximate factors that may influence the behaviour of Ac. allotrichus males are discussed.

  16. 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.

  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. 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

  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.

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

    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

  3. Contrast in edge vegetation structure modifies the predation risk of natural ground nests in an agricultural landscape.

    PubMed

    Schneider, Nicole A; Low, Matthew; Arlt, Debora; Pärt, Tomas

    2012-01-01

    Nest predation risk generally increases nearer forest-field edges in agricultural landscapes. However, few studies test whether differences in edge contrast (i.e. hard versus soft edges based on vegetation structure and height) affect edge-related predation patterns and if such patterns are related to changes in nest conspicuousness between incubation and nestling feeding. Using data on 923 nesting attempts we analyse factors influencing nest predation risk at different edge types in an agricultural landscape of a ground-cavity breeding bird species, the Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe). As for many other bird species, nest predation is a major determinant of reproductive success in this migratory passerine. Nest predation risk was higher closer to woodland and crop field edges, but only when these were hard edges in terms of ground vegetation structure (clear contrast between tall vs short ground vegetation). No such edge effect was observed at soft edges where adjacent habitats had tall ground vegetation (crop, ungrazed grassland). This edge effect on nest predation risk was evident during the incubation stage but not the nestling feeding stage. Since wheatear nests are depredated by ground-living animals our results demonstrate: (i) that edge effects depend on edge contrast, (ii) that edge-related nest predation patterns vary across the breeding period probably resulting from changes in parental activity at the nest between the incubation and nestling feeding stage. Edge effects should be put in the context of the nest predator community as illustrated by the elevated nest predation risk at hard but not soft habitat edges when an edge is defined in terms of ground vegetation. These results thus can potentially explain previously observed variations in edge-related nest predation risk.

  4. Supplemental food that supports both predator and pest: a risk for biological control?

    PubMed

    Leman, Ada; Messelink, Gerben J

    2015-04-01

    Supplemental food sources to support natural enemies in crops are increasingly being tested and used. This is particularly interesting for generalist predators that can reproduce on these food sources. However, a potential risk for pest control could occur when herbivores also benefit from supplemental food sources. In order to optimize biological control, it may be important to select food sources that support predator populations more than herbivore populations. In this study we evaluated the nutritional quality of four types of supplemental food for the generalist predatory mites Amblyseius swirskii Athias-Henriot and Amblydromalus (Typhlodromalus) limonicus (Garman and McGregor), both important thrips predators, and for the herbivore western flower thrips Frankliniella occidentalis Pergande, by assessing oviposition rates. These tests showed that application of corn pollen, cattail pollen or sterilized eggs of Ephestia kuehniella Zeller to chrysanthemum leaves resulted in three times higher oviposition rates of thrips compared to leaves without additional food. None of the tested food sources promoted predatory mites or western flower thrips exclusively. Decapsulated cysts of Artemia franciscana Kellogg were not suitable, whereas cattail pollen was very suitable for both predatory mites and western flower thrips. In addition, we found that the rate of thrips predation by A. swirskii can be reduced by 50 %, when pollen is present. Nevertheless, application of pollen or Ephestia eggs to a chrysanthemum crop still strongly enhanced the biological control of thrips with A. swirskii, both at low and high release densities of predatory mites through the strong numerical response of the predators. Despite these positive results, application in a crop should be approached with caution, as the results may strongly depend on the initial predator-prey ratio, the nutritional quality of the supplemental food source, the species of predatory mites, the distribution of the

  5. Oviposition site selection in Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae): are the effects of predation risk and food level independent?

    PubMed

    Wasserberg, Gideon; White, L; Bullard, A; King, J; Maxwell, R

    2013-09-01

    For organisms lacking parental care and where larval dispersal is limited, oviposition site selection decisions are critical fitness-enhancing choices. However, studies usually do not consider the interdependence of the two. In this study, we evaluated the effect of food level on the oviposition behavior of Aedes albopictus (Skuse) in the presence or the absence of a nonlethal predator (caged dragonfly nymph). We also attempted to quantify the perceived cost of predation to ovipositioning mosquitoes. Mosquitoes were presented with oviposition cups containing four levels of larval food (fermented leaf infusion) with or without a caged libellulid nymph. By titrating larval food, we estimated the amount of food needed to attract the female mosquito to oviposit in the riskier habitat. As expected, oviposition rate increased with food level and decreased in the presence of a predator. However, the effect of food level did not differ between predator treatments. By calculating the difference in the amount of food for points of equal oviposition rate in the predator-present and predator-absent regression lines, we estimated the cost of predation risk to be 1950 colony-forming-units per milliliter. Our study demonstrated the importance of considering the possible interdependence of predation risk and food abundance for oviposition-site-seeking insects. This study also quantified the perceived cost of predation and found it to be relatively low, a fact with positive implications for biological control. PMID:24180122

  6. 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

  7. From process to pattern: how fluctuating predation risk impacts the stress axis of snowshoe hares during the 10-year cycle.

    PubMed

    Sheriff, Michael J; Krebs, Charles J; Boonstra, Rudy

    2011-07-01

    Predation is a central organizing process affecting populations and communities. Traditionally, ecologists have focused on the direct effects of predation--the killing of prey. However, predators also have significant sublethal effects on prey populations. We investigated how fluctuating predation risk affected the stress physiology of a cyclic population of snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) in the Yukon, finding that they are extremely sensitive to the fluctuating risk of predation. In years of high predator numbers, hares had greater plasma cortisol levels at capture, greater fecal cortisol metabolite levels, a greater plasma cortisol response to a hormone challenge, a greater ability to mobilize energy and poorer body condition. These indices of stress had the same pattern within years, during the winter and over the breeding season when the hare:lynx ratio was lowest and the food availability the worst. Previously we have shown that predator-induced maternal stress lowers reproduction and compromises offspring's stress axis. We propose that predator-induced changes in hare stress physiology affect their demography through negative impacts on reproduction and that the low phase of cyclic populations may be the result of predator-induced maternal stress reducing the fitness of progeny. The hare population cycle has far reaching ramifications on predators, alternate prey, and vegetation. Thus, predation is the predominant organizing process for much of the North American boreal forest community, with its indirect signature--stress in hares--producing a pattern of hormonal changes that provides a sensitive reflection of fluctuating predator pressure that may have long-term demographic consequences.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Functional Traits, Flocking Propensity, and Perceived Predation Risk in an Amazonian Understory Bird Community.

    PubMed

    Martínez, Ari E; Gomez, Juan P; Ponciano, José Miguel; Robinson, Scott K

    2016-05-01

    Within a community, different species might share similar predation risks, and, thus, the ability of species to signal and interpret heterospecific threat information may determine species' associations. We combined observational, experimental, and phylogenetic approaches to determine the extent to which evolutionary history and functional traits determined flocking propensity and perceived predation risk (response to heterospecific alarm calls) in a lowland Amazonian bird community. We predicted that small birds that feed myopically and out in the open would have higher flocking propensities and account for a higher proportion of positive responses to alarms. Using generalized linear models and the incorporation of phylogeny on data from 56 species, our results suggest that phylogenetic relationships alongside body size, foraging height, vegetation density, and response to alarm calls influence flocking propensity. Conversely, phylogenetic relationships did not influence response to heterospecific alarm calls. Among functional traits, however, foraging strategy, foraging density, and flocking propensity partially explained responses to alarm calls. Our results suggest that flocking propensity and perceived predation risk are positively related and that functional ecological traits and evolutionary history may explain certain species' associations.

  14. 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

  15. Hang on or run? Copepod mating versus predation risk in contrasting environments.

    PubMed

    Jersabek, Christian D; Luger, Martin S; Schabetsberger, Robert; Grill, Susanne; Strickler, J Rudi

    2007-09-01

    Mating durations of copepods were found to differ significantly between fishless high-altitude waters and lowland lakes containing fish. In lowland species the whole mating process was completed within a few minutes, but it averaged over an hour in high-altitude species. Alpine copepods showed a prolonged post-copulatory association between mates, during which the male clasped the female for an extended period after spermatophore transfer, while in lowland species males abandoned their partner immediately after copulation. Prolonged associations also occurred after transfer of spermatophores to heterospecific females with shorter conspecific mating duration, suggesting that male interests largely dictate the time spent in tandem. The differences observed may be adaptations to environments with different predation pressure, as pairs in tandem are more conspicuous and less reactive than single animals. We argue that differences in mating behavior and mating duration evolved under sexual versus natural selection, reflecting trade-offs between enhancement of fertilization success and reduction of vulnerability to visual predation. In fishless mountain lakes with high intrasexual competition, guarding males can reduce the risk of spermatophore displacement or the risk that the female will accept sperm from rival males without increased risk of being eaten, thereby maximizing paternity. Populations from fishless alpine lakes further differed from lowland species by exhibiting higher female/male size dimorphism and more intense pigmentation. While these traits vary between populations according to predation pressure, mating duration appears to be more species-specific.

  16. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    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

  18. Spatial distribution of fishes in a Northwest Atlantic ecosystem in relation to risk of predation by a marine mammal.

    PubMed

    Swain, Douglas P; Benoît, Hugues P; Hammill, Mike O

    2015-09-01

    1. Numerous studies have shown that, at spatial scales of metres to several kilometres, animals balance the trade-off between foraging success and predation mortality by increasing their use of safer but less profitable habitats as predation risk increases. However, it is less clear whether prey respond similarly at the larger spatiotemporal scales of many ecosystems. 2. We determine whether this behaviour is evident in a large marine ecosystem, the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (sGSL, 75 000 km(2) ) over a 42-year period. This ecosystem is characterized by a recent increase in the abundance of a large marine predator, the grey seal (Halichoerus grypus Fabricius), by more than an order of magnitude. 3. We compared changes in spatial distribution over the 1971-2012 period between important prey of grey seals (Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua L.; white hake, Urophycis tenuis Mitchill; and thorny skate, Amblyraja radiata Donovan) and non-prey fishes. 4. Distribution was modelled using generalized additive models incorporating spatially variable effects of predation risk, density dependence and water temperature. Distributions of cod, hake and skate were strongly related to risk of predation by seals, with distribution shifting into lower risk areas as predation risk increased. Non-prey species did not show similar changes in habitat use. Spatial variation in fish condition suggests that these low-risk areas are also less profitable for cod and skate in terms of food availability. The effects of density dependence and water temperature were also important in models, but did not account for the changes in habitat use as the risk of predation increased. 5. These results indicate that these fish are able to assess and respond to spatial variation in predation risk at very large spatial scales. They also suggest that non-consumptive 'risk' effects may be an important component of the declines in productivity of seal prey in this ecosystem, and of the indirect effects at lower

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Risk allocation and competition in foraging groups: reversed effects of competition if group size varies under risk of predation.

    PubMed Central

    Bednekoff, Peter A.; Lima, Steven L.

    2004-01-01

    Animals often feed more quickly when in larger groups. This group-size effect is often explained by safety advantages for groups but an alternative explanation is that animals feed faster in larger groups because of greater scramble competition for limited food. We show that predation risk enhances the group-size effect if groups vary in size. By contrast, competition leads to the group-size effect only when individuals feed in groups of constant size. When individuals feed in groups that vary in size, the best strategy for dealing with competition is to feed intensely when in smaller groups and feed little when in larger (more competitive) groups. In all situations, the effects of competition interact with the effects of predation risk in a simple multiplicative way. Our results suggest that scramble competition is not a general explanation for the group-size effect on vigilance in situations where group size changes relatively rapidly. PMID:15306321

  7. The consequences of crowned eagle central-place foraging on predation risk in monkeys.

    PubMed Central

    Shultz, Susanne; Noë, Ronald

    2002-01-01

    The African crowned eagle (Stepahnoaetus coronatus) is the primary predator for arboreal primates throughout sub-Saharan forests. Monkeys typically respond with alarm calls when they are aware of the presence of crowned eagles and such calls can be considered a corollary of predation risk within primate groups. Alarm calls from six species of monkeys were recorded across the home range of an eagle pair in Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire. Spatial and temporal variation in primate alarm calling was found to be related to eagle ranging behaviour according to the predictions of central-place foraging models. Radio-tracking data indicate that eagle activity is higher in the centre of their home range and monkey alarm-calling rates are correspondingly elevated near eagle nests as opposed to farther away. Alarm-calling rates are also temporally coupled with measures of eagle activity. There were considerable differences between the species in both rates and spatial patterns of alarm calling. The variation we measure in predation risk is expected to have consequences at the behavioural and population level. PMID:12350267

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Investment into Defensive Traits by Anuran Prey (Lithobates pipiens) Is Mediated by the Starvation-Predation Risk Trade-Off

    PubMed Central

    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

  11. Demersal fishing disturbance increases predation risk for whelks ( Buccinum undatum L.)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ramsay, Kirsten; Kaiser, Michel J.

    1998-06-01

    Field observations by divers indicated that a high rate of predation of whelks ( Buccinum undatum) by starfish ( Asterias rubens) occurred in an area disturbed by scallop dredging, although these whelks mostly appeared to be alive and externally undamaged. The ability of whelks to escape from starfish was tested in the laboratory after they were dropped or rolled to simulate direct physical contact with bottom fishing gear. Dropping whelks did not significantly affect their escape behaviour, but whelks which had been rolled took significantly longer to right themselves and were significantly less likely to perform an escape response than whelks that had not experienced this treatment. This study suggests that demersal fishing may indirectly increase whelk mortality by increasing their risk of predation.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Resource-mediated impact of spider predation risk on performance in the grasshopper Ageneotettix deorum (Orthoptera: Acrididae).

    PubMed

    Danner, Bradford J; Joern, Anthony

    2003-11-01

    In response to increased exposure to predators when searching for food, many prey increase the frequency of antipredator behaviors, potentially reducing foraging rate and food intake. Such direct, nonlethal interactions between predators and prey resulting in reduced food intake can indirectly influence lifecycle development through effects on growth, developmental rate, and survival. We investigated the general hypothesis that individual performance of a herbivorous insect can be negatively affected when exposed to nonlethal predation risk, and that the response can be mediated by food quality. This hypothesis was tested using the common rangeland grasshopper Ageneotettix deorum with and without exposure to common wolf spider predators (Lycosidae, Schizocosa spp.) on both untreated natural and fertilized vegetation. All spiders were rendered temporarily incapable of direct feeding by restricting function of the chelicerae with beeswax. Detectable responses by grasshoppers to spiders indicate indirect consequences for lifecycle development. Grasshopper performance was measured as hind femur growth, duration of nymphal lifecycle stages, and survivorship in a caged field experiment conducted over 2 years. Grasshoppers developed faster and grew 3-5% larger when allowed to forage on fertilized vegetation in the absence of risk from a spider predator. Failure-time analysis illustrated enhanced survival probability in response to elevated food quality and the negative effects of grasshopper susceptibility to nonlethal predation risk. Performance on food of relatively low, ambient quality with no predation risk equaled that of grasshoppers caged with high quality vegetation in the presence of a modified spider. Increased resource quality can clearly moderate the negative life history responses caused by the behavioral modification of grasshoppers when exposed to spider predation risk, a compensatory response.

  20. Habitat Selection and Risk of Predation: Re-colonization by Lynx had Limited Impact on Habitat Selection by Roe Deer

    PubMed Central

    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

  1. Advanced autumn migration of sparrowhawk has increased the predation risk of long-distance migrants in Finland.

    PubMed

    Lehikoinen, Aleksi

    2011-01-01

    Predation affects life history traits of nearly all organisms and the population consequences of predator avoidance are often larger than predation itself. Climate change has been shown to cause phenological changes. These changes are not necessarily similar between species and may cause mismatches between prey and predator. Eurasian sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus, the main predator of passerines, has advanced its autumn phenology by about ten days in 30 years due to climate change. However, we do not know if sparrowhawk migrate earlier in response to earlier migration by its prey or if earlier sparrowhawk migration results in changes to predation risk on its prey. By using the median departure date of 41 passerine species I was able to show that early migrating passerines tend to advance, and late migrating species delay their departure, but none of the species have advanced their departure times as much as the sparrowhawk. This has lead to a situation of increased predation risk on early migrating long-distance migrants (LDM) and decreased the overlap of migration season with later departing short-distance migrants (SDM). Findings highlight the growing list of problems of declining LDM populations caused by climate change. On the other hand it seems that the autumn migration may become safer for SDM whose populations are growing. Results demonstrate that passerines show very conservative response in autumn phenology to climate change, and thus phenological mismatches caused by global warming are not necessarily increasing towards the higher trophic levels.

  2. 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

  3. Fine-scale predation risk on elk after wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park, USA.

    PubMed

    Halofsky, Joshua S; Ripple, William J

    2008-04-01

    While patterns from trophic cascade studies have largely focused on density-mediated effects of predators on prey, there is increasing recognition that behaviorally mediated indirect effects of predators on prey can, at least in part, explain trophic cascade patterns. To determine if a relationship exists between predation risk perceived by elk (Cervus elaphus) while browsing and elk position within the landscape, we observed a total of 56 female elk during two summers and 29 female elk during one winter. At a fine spatial (0-187 m) and temporal scale (145-300 s), results from our model selection indicated summer vigilance levels were greater for females with calves than for females without calves, with vigilance levels greater for all females at closer escape-impediment distances. Winter results also suggested greater female vigilance levels at closer escape-impediment distances, but further indicated an increase in vigilance levels with closer conifer-edge distances. Placed within the context of other studies, the results were consistent with a behaviorally mediated trophic cascade and provide a potential mechanism to explain the variability in observed woody plant release from browsing in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA. PMID:18224339

  4. Fine-scale predation risk on elk after wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone National Park, USA.

    PubMed

    Halofsky, Joshua S; Ripple, William J

    2008-04-01

    While patterns from trophic cascade studies have largely focused on density-mediated effects of predators on prey, there is increasing recognition that behaviorally mediated indirect effects of predators on prey can, at least in part, explain trophic cascade patterns. To determine if a relationship exists between predation risk perceived by elk (Cervus elaphus) while browsing and elk position within the landscape, we observed a total of 56 female elk during two summers and 29 female elk during one winter. At a fine spatial (0-187 m) and temporal scale (145-300 s), results from our model selection indicated summer vigilance levels were greater for females with calves than for females without calves, with vigilance levels greater for all females at closer escape-impediment distances. Winter results also suggested greater female vigilance levels at closer escape-impediment distances, but further indicated an increase in vigilance levels with closer conifer-edge distances. Placed within the context of other studies, the results were consistent with a behaviorally mediated trophic cascade and provide a potential mechanism to explain the variability in observed woody plant release from browsing in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Effects of Maternal Nutrition, Resource Use and Multi-Predator Risk on Neonatal White-Tailed Deer Survival

    PubMed Central

    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

  9. 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

  10. Pastoral Herding Strategies and Governmental Management Objectives: Predation Compensation as a Risk Buffering Strategy in the Saami Reindeer Husbandry.

    PubMed

    Næss, Marius Warg; Bårdsen, Bård-Jørgen; Pedersen, Elisabeth; Tveraa, Torkild

    2011-08-01

    Previously it has been found that an important risk buffering strategy in the Saami reindeer husbandry in Norway is the accumulation of large herds of reindeer as this increases long-term household viability. Nevertheless, few studies have investigated how official policies, such as economic compensation for livestock losses, can influence pastoral strategies. This study investigated the effect of received predation compensation on individual husbandry units' future herd size. The main finding in this study is that predation compensation had a positive effect on husbandry units' future herd size. The effect of predation compensation, however, was nonlinear in some years, indicating that predation compensation had a positive effect on future herd size only up to a certain threshold whereby adding additional predation compensation had little effect on future herd size. More importantly, the effect of predation compensation was positive after controlling for reindeer density, indicating that for a given reindeer density husbandry units receiving more predation compensation performed better (measured as the size of future herds) compared to husbandry units receiving less compensation.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Are migrant and resident elk (Cervus elaphus) exposed to similar forage and predation risk on their sympatric winter range?

    PubMed

    Robinson, Barry G; Hebblewhite, Mark; Merrill, Evelyn H

    2010-09-01

    Partially migratory populations, where one portion of a population conducts seasonal migrations (migrants) while the other remains on a single range (residents), are common in ungulates. Studies that assess trade-offs between migratory strategies typically compare the amount of predation risk and forage resources migrants and residents are exposed to only while on separate ranges and assume both groups intermix completely while on sympatric ranges. Here we provide one of the first tests of this assumption by comparing the amount of overlap between home ranges of GPS-collared migrant and resident elk and fine-scale exposure to wolf predation risk and forage biomass at telemetry locations on a sympatric winter range in west-central Alberta, Canada. Overlap between migrant and resident home ranges increased throughout the winter, and both groups were generally intermixed and exposed to equal forage biomass. During the day, both migrants and residents avoided predation risk by remaining in areas far from timber with high human activity, which wolves avoided. However, at night wolves moved onto the grasslands close to humans and away from timber. Resident elk were consistently closer to areas of human activity and further from timber than migrants, possibly because of a habituation to humans. As a result, resident elk were exposed to higher night-time predation risk than migrants. Our study does not support the assumption that migrant and resident elk are exposed to equal predation risk on their sympatric range when human presence alters predation risk dynamics and habituation to humans is unequal between migratory strategies.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Group Dynamics of Zebra and Wildebeest in a Woodland Savanna: Effects of Predation Risk and Habitat Density

    PubMed Central

    Thaker, Maria; Vanak, Abi T.; Owen, Cailey R.; Ogden, Monika B.; Slotow, Rob

    2010-01-01

    Background Group dynamics of gregarious ungulates in the grasslands of the African savanna have been well studied, but the trade-offs that affect grouping of these ungulates in woodland habitats or dense vegetation are less well understood. We examined the landscape-level distribution of groups of blue wildebeest, Connochaetes taurinus, and Burchell's zebra, Equus burchelli, in a predominantly woodland area (Karongwe Game Reserve, South Africa; KGR) to test the hypothesis that group dynamics are a function of minimizing predation risk from their primary predator, lion, Panthera leo. Methodology/Principal Findings Using generalized linear models, we examined the relative importance of habitat type (differing in vegetation density), probability of encountering lion (based on utilization distribution of all individual lions in the reserve), and season in predicting group size and composition. We found that only in open scrub habitat, group size for both ungulate species increased with the probability of encountering lion. Group composition differed between the two species and was driven by habitat selection as well as predation risk. For both species, composition of groups was, however, dominated by males in open scrub habitats, irrespective of the probability of encountering lion. Conclusions/Significance Distribution patterns of wildebeest and zebra groups at the landscape level directly support the theoretical and empirical evidence from a range of taxa predicting that grouping is favored in open habitats and when predation risk is high. Group composition reflected species-specific social, physiological and foraging constraints, as well as the importance of predation risk. Avoidance of high resource open scrub habitat by females can lead to loss of foraging opportunities, which can be particularly costly in areas such as KGR, where this resource is limited. Thus, landscape-level grouping dynamics are species specific and particular to the composition of the group

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-06

    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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Benefits of migration in relation to nutritional condition and predation risk in a partially migratory moose population.

    PubMed

    White, Kevin S; Barten, Neil L; Crouse, Stacy; Crouse, John

    2014-01-01

    The costs and benefits of alternative migratory strategies are often framed in the context of top-down and bottom-up effects on individual fitness. This occurs because migration is considered a costly behavioral strategy that presumably confers explicit benefits to migrants in the form of either decreased predation risk (predation risk avoidance hypothesis) or increased nutrition (forage maturation hypothesis). To test these hypotheses, we studied a partially migratory moose (Alces alces) population and contrasted explicit measures of predation risk (i.e., offspring survival) and nutrition (i.e., accumulation of endogenous energy reserves) between resident and migratory subpopulations. We relied on data collected from migratory and nonmigratory radio-marked moose (n = 67) that inhabited a novel study system located in coastal Alaska between 2004 and 2010. In this area, 30% of the population resides year-round on a coastal foreland area, while 48% migrate to either a small island archipelago or a subalpine ridge system (the remainder exhibited one of six different low-occurrence strategies). Overall, we determined that accumulation of body fat during the growing season did not differ between migratory or resident modalities. However, calf survival was 2.6-2.9 times higher for individuals that migrated (survival, islands = 0.49 +/- 0.16 [mean +/- SE], n = 35; ridge = 0.52 +/- 0.16, n = 33) than those that did not (survival, resident = 0.19 +/- 0.08, n = 57). Our results support the predation risk avoidance hypotheses, and suggest that migration is a behavioral strategy that principally operates to reduce the risk of calf predation and does not confer explicit nutritional benefits. We did not directly detect trade-offs between predation risk and nutrition for migratory individuals. Yet we identify an indirect life history mechanism that may mildly dampen the apparent fitness benefits of migration. The proximate factors accounting for differences in migration

  14. Benefits of migration in relation to nutritional condition and predation risk in a partially migratory moose population.

    PubMed

    White, Kevin S; Barten, Neil L; Crouse, Stacy; Crouse, John

    2014-01-01

    The costs and benefits of alternative migratory strategies are often framed in the context of top-down and bottom-up effects on individual fitness. This occurs because migration is considered a costly behavioral strategy that presumably confers explicit benefits to migrants in the form of either decreased predation risk (predation risk avoidance hypothesis) or increased nutrition (forage maturation hypothesis). To test these hypotheses, we studied a partially migratory moose (Alces alces) population and contrasted explicit measures of predation risk (i.e., offspring survival) and nutrition (i.e., accumulation of endogenous energy reserves) between resident and migratory subpopulations. We relied on data collected from migratory and nonmigratory radio-marked moose (n = 67) that inhabited a novel study system located in coastal Alaska between 2004 and 2010. In this area, 30% of the population resides year-round on a coastal foreland area, while 48% migrate to either a small island archipelago or a subalpine ridge system (the remainder exhibited one of six different low-occurrence strategies). Overall, we determined that accumulation of body fat during the growing season did not differ between migratory or resident modalities. However, calf survival was 2.6-2.9 times higher for individuals that migrated (survival, islands = 0.49 +/- 0.16 [mean +/- SE], n = 35; ridge = 0.52 +/- 0.16, n = 33) than those that did not (survival, resident = 0.19 +/- 0.08, n = 57). Our results support the predation risk avoidance hypotheses, and suggest that migration is a behavioral strategy that principally operates to reduce the risk of calf predation and does not confer explicit nutritional benefits. We did not directly detect trade-offs between predation risk and nutrition for migratory individuals. Yet we identify an indirect life history mechanism that may mildly dampen the apparent fitness benefits of migration. The proximate factors accounting for differences in migration

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-04-01

    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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hansen, Adam G.; Beauchamp, David A.

    2014-01-01

    summer into autumn. 4. 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. 

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-06-01

    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. PMID:21644952

  8. Hypoxic refuges, predator-prey interactions and habitat selection by fishes.

    PubMed

    Hedges, K J; Abrahams, M V

    2015-01-01

    Localized hypoxic habitats were created in Delta Marsh, Manitoba, Canada to determine the potential of regions of moderate hypoxia to act as refuges for forage fishes from piscine predators. Minnow traps and giving-up density (GUD) plates (plexiglas plates covered with trout crumble and fine gravel) were used to assess habitat use and perceived habitat quality for forage fishes, respectively, while passive integrated transponder tags provided data on habitat use by predator species to assess the level of predation risk. Data were collected both before and after a hypoxia manipulation (2-3 mg l(-1) dissolved oxygen, DO) to create a before-after control-effect style experiment. Fathead minnows Pimephales promelas were more abundant and consumed more food from GUD plates in hypoxic bays after the DO manipulation, indicating hypoxic locations were perceived as higher quality, lower-risk habitats. The frequency of predator visits was not consistently affected. The duration of visits, and therefore the total time spent in these habitats, however, was significantly shorter. These predator data, combined with the prey information, are consistent with the hypothesis that hypoxic regions function as predator refuges. The refuge effect is not the result of predator exclusion, however; instead predators are rendered less capable of foraging and pose less of a threat in hypoxic locations. PMID:25557430

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Effects of habitat patchiness on American lobster movement across a gradient of predation risk and shelter competition.

    PubMed

    Hovel, Kevin A; Wahle, Richard A

    2010-07-01

    The influence of landscape structure on marine ecological processes is receiving increasing attention. However, few studies conducted in coastal marine habitats have evaluated whether the effects of landscape structure on species interactions and organismal behavior are consistent across the range of an organism, over which landscape context and the strength of species interactions typically vary. American lobster (Homarus americanus) juveniles seek refuge from predators within shallow rocky habitat but make short-distance movements to forage outside of shelter. We evaluated how the patchiness of cobble habitat influences juvenile lobster movement by conducting mark-recapture experiments on lobsters placed within patchy and contiguous cobble plots in three regions of New England among which risk of predation and intraspecific shelter competition vary (Rhode Island, mid-coast Maine, and eastern Maine, USA). We also evaluated whether habitat patchiness influenced lobster colonization of plots and whether lobster fidelity to individual shelters corresponds to variability in predator abundance and conspecific density among regions. Cobble patchiness reduced rates of lobster movement in all three regions in 2004 and in two of three regions in 2005, despite large differences in landscape context among regions. Region had much larger effects on lobster colonization than did patchiness, but patchy plots were colonized at higher rates than were contiguous plots where lobster densities were highest. Fidelity to shelter was higher in regions with low conspecific density (Rhode Island and eastern Maine) than in mid-coast Maine where conspecific density is high and where unmarked lobsters often occupied shelters vacated by marked lobsters. Our results indicate that cobble patchiness influences juvenile lobster movement at small scales, but that the effects of patchiness on movement were consistent across much of the range of the American lobster despite strong regional

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Another battle of the sexes: the consequences of sexual asymmetry in mating costs and predation risk in the guppy, Poecilia reticulata.

    PubMed

    Magurran, A E; Nowak, M A

    1991-10-22

    The risk of predation and cost or benefit of a mating attempt are rarely the same for both sexes. An excellent example is provided by the guppy. Poecilia reticulata, a species that has a promiscuous mating system in which female choice plays an important role. Male engage almost continuously in courtship behaviour but, as females are sexually receptive for short periods only, most male displays are ignored and sneaky mating attempts avoided. Experiments on guppies from wild Trinidad populations reveal that females appear to perceive themselves to be at a greater risk of predation and devote more time to antipredator behaviour, for example, schooling when threatened. Inspections of the predator are also mainly initiated and led by female guppies. Males exploit this behavioural switch by increasing their sneaky mating attempts. A game theoretical analysis is used to explore the sexual asymmetry in mating cost and predation risk. Together these approaches show that there is no intersexual cooperation during predator inspection behaviour in this species, and may explain the paradoxical increase in mating activity by male guppies under threat.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Sleeping site selection by agile gibbons: the influence of tree stability, fruit availability and predation risk.

    PubMed

    Cheyne, Susan M; Höing, Andrea; Rinear, John; Sheeran, Lori K

    2012-01-01

    Primates spend a significant proportion of their lives at sleeping sites: the selection of a secure and stable sleeping tree can be crucial for individual survival and fitness. We measured key characteristics of all tree species in which agile gibbons slept, including exposure of the tree crown, root system, height, species and presence of food. Gibbons most frequently slept in Dipterocarpaceae and Fabaceae trees and preferentially chose trees taller than average, slept above the mean canopy height and showed a preference for liana-free trees. These choices could reflect avoidance of competition with other frugivores, but we argue these choices reflect gibbons prioritizing avoidance of predation. The results highlight that gibbons are actively selecting and rejecting sleeping trees based on several characteristics. The importance of the presence of large trees for food is noted and provides insight into gibbon antipredatory behaviour.

  2. 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

  3. Predator diversity, intraguild predation, and indirect effects drive parasite transmission.

    PubMed

    Rohr, Jason R; Civitello, David J; Crumrine, Patrick W; Halstead, Neal T; Miller, Andrew D; Schotthoefer, Anna M; Stenoien, Carl; Johnson, Lucinda B; Beasley, Val R

    2015-03-10

    Humans are altering biodiversity globally and infectious diseases are on the rise; thus, there is interest in understanding how changes to biodiversity affect disease. Here, we explore how predator diversity shapes parasite transmission. In a mesocosm experiment that manipulated predator (larval dragonflies and damselflies) density and diversity, non-intraguild (non-IG) predators that only consume free-living cercariae (parasitic trematodes) reduced metacercarial infections in tadpoles, whereas intraguild (IG) predators that consume both parasites and tadpole hosts did not. This likely occurred because IG predators reduced tadpole densities and anticercarial behaviors, increasing per capita exposure rates of the surviving tadpoles (i.e., via density- and trait-mediated effects) despite the consumption of parasites. A mathematical model demonstrated that non-IG predators reduce macroparasite infections, but IG predation weakens this "dilution effect" and can even amplify parasite burdens. Consistent with the experiment and model, a wetland survey revealed that the diversity of IG predators was unrelated to metacercarial burdens in amphibians, but the diversity of non-IG predators was negatively correlated with infections. These results are strikingly similar to generalities that have emerged from the predator diversity-pest biocontrol literature, suggesting that there may be general mechanisms for pest control and that biocontrol research might inform disease management and vice versa. In summary, we identified a general trait of predators--where they fall on an IG predation continuum--that predicts their ability to reduce infections and possibly pests in general. Consequently, managing assemblages of predators represents an underused tool for the management of human and wildlife diseases and pest populations.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Direct Look from a Predator Shortens the Risk-Assessment Time by Prey

    PubMed Central

    Lee, Sang-im; Hwang, Soyun; Joe, Young-eun; Cha, Hyun-kyung; Joo, Gun-ho; Lee, Hyeon-jeong; Kim, Ji-won; Jablonski, Piotr G.

    2013-01-01

    Decision making process is an important component of information use by animals and has already been studied in natural situations. Decision making takes time, which is expressed as a cost in evolutionary explanations of decision making abilities of animals. However, the duration of information assessment and decision making process has not been measured in a natural situation. Here, we use responses of wild magpies (Pica pica) to predictably approaching humans to demonstrate that, regardless of whether the bird perceived high (decided to fly away) or low (resumed foraging) threat level, the bird assessed the situation faster when approaching humans looked directly at it than when the humans were not directly looking at it. This indicates that prey is able to extract more information about the predator’s intentions and to respond sooner when the predator is continuously (“intently”) looking at the prey. The results generally illustrate how an increase of information available to an individual leads to a shorter assessment and decision making process, confirming one of central tenets of psychology of information use in a wild bird species in its natural habitat. PMID:23755164

  7. Predator diversity, intraguild predation, and indirect effects drive parasite transmission

    PubMed Central

    Rohr, Jason R.; Civitello, David J.; Crumrine, Patrick W.; Halstead, Neal T.; Miller, Andrew D.; Schotthoefer, Anna M.; Stenoien, Carl; Johnson, Lucinda B.; Beasley, Val R.

    2015-01-01

    Humans are altering biodiversity globally and infectious diseases are on the rise; thus, there is interest in understanding how changes to biodiversity affect disease. Here, we explore how predator diversity shapes parasite transmission. In a mesocosm experiment that manipulated predator (larval dragonflies and damselflies) density and diversity, non-intraguild (non-IG) predators that only consume free-living cercariae (parasitic trematodes) reduced metacercarial infections in tadpoles, whereas intraguild (IG) predators that consume both parasites and tadpole hosts did not. This likely occurred because IG predators reduced tadpole densities and anticercarial behaviors, increasing per capita exposure rates of the surviving tadpoles (i.e., via density- and trait-mediated effects) despite the consumption of parasites. A mathematical model demonstrated that non-IG predators reduce macroparasite infections, but IG predation weakens this “dilution effect” and can even amplify parasite burdens. Consistent with the experiment and model, a wetland survey revealed that the diversity of IG predators was unrelated to metacercarial burdens in amphibians, but the diversity of non-IG predators was negatively correlated with infections. These results are strikingly similar to generalities that have emerged from the predator diversity–pest biocontrol literature, suggesting that there may be general mechanisms for pest control and that biocontrol research might inform disease management and vice versa. In summary, we identified a general trait of predators—where they fall on an IG predation continuum—that predicts their ability to reduce infections and possibly pests in general. Consequently, managing assemblages of predators represents an underused tool for the management of human and wildlife diseases and pest populations. PMID:25713379

  8. Body condition and pregnancy in northern Yellowstone elk: evidence for predation risk effects?

    PubMed

    White, P J; Garrott, Robert A; Hamlin, Kenneth L; Cook, Rachel C; Cook, John G; Cunningham, Julie A

    2011-01-01

    S. Creel et al. reported a negative correlation between fecal progesterone concentrations and elk:wolf ratios in greater Yellowstone elk (Cervus elaphus) herds and interpreted this correlation as evidence that pregnancy rates of elk decreased substantially in the presence of wolves (Canis lupus). Apparently, the hypothesized mechanism is that decreased forage intake reduces body condition and either results in elk failing to conceive during the autumn rut or elk losing the fetus during winter. We tested this hypothesis by comparing age-specific body condition (percentage ingesta-free body fat) and pregnancy rates for northern Yellowstone elk, one of the herds sampled by Creel et al., before (1962-1968) and after (2000-2006) wolf restoration using indices developed and calibrated for Rocky Mountain elk. Mean age-adjusted percentage body fat of female elk was similarly high in both periods (9.0%-0.9% pre-wolf; 8.9%-0.8% post-wolf). Estimated pregnancy rates (proportion of females that were pregnant) were 0.91 pre-wolf and 0.87 post-wolf for 4-9 year-old elk (95% CI on difference = -0.15 to 0.03, P = 0.46) and 0.64 pre-wolf and 0.78 post-wolf for elk > 9 years old (95% CI on difference = -0.01 to 0.27, P = 0.06). Thus, there was little evidence in these data to support strong effects of wolf presence on elk pregnancy. We caution that multiple lines of evidence and/or strong validation should be brought to bear before relying on indirect measures of how predators affect pregnancy rates. PMID:21516883

  9. Habitat preferences of a corallivorous reef fish: predation risk versus food quality

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brooker, R. M.; Munday, P. L.; Mcleod, I. M.; Jones, G. P.

    2013-09-01

    Many animals preferentially select a habitat from a range of those potentially available. However, the consequences of these preferences for distribution and abundance, and the underlying basis of habitat preferences are often unknown. The present study, conducted at Great Keppel Island, Australia, examined how distribution and abundance of an obligate corallivorous filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris, relates to coral architecture and diversity. The main drivers of the distribution and abundance of O. longirostris among reefs were coral species richness and availability of branching coral. Feeding territories had a higher percentage of Acropora coral than surrounding habitat. In addition, feeding territories had a higher percentage of the structurally important branching coral, Acropora nobilis, and a primary prey species, Acropora millepora. A series of pair-wise choice experiments in which both structural complexity and coral tissue quality were independently manipulated showed that habitat choice was primarily based on structural complexity and shelter characteristics. In addition, the choice for the preferred coral ( A. nobilis) was stronger in the presence of a piscivorous fish. These results indicate that species-diverse coral habitats, which provide sufficient structural complexity along with nutritionally important prey, are essential for population persistence of this small, corallivorous reef fish.

  10. Risk-sensitive foraging in rats: the effects of response-effort and reward-amount manipulations on choice behavior.

    PubMed

    Kirshenbaum; Szalda-Petree; Haddad

    2000-07-01

    The literature on risk-sensitive foraging theory provides several accounts of species that fluctuate between risk-averse and risk-prone strategies. The daily energy budget rule suggests that shifts in foraging strategy are precipitated by changes in the forager's energy budget. Researchers have attempted to alter the organism's energy budget using a variety of techniques such as food deprivation, manipulation of ambient temperatures, and delays to food reward; however, response-effort manipulations have been relatively neglected. A choice preparation using a wheel-running response and rats examined risk-sensitive preferences when both response effort and reward amounts were manipulated. Concurrently available reinforcement schedules (FI/60 and VI/60) yielded equivalent food amounts per unit time in all treatments. Two levels of response effort (20 or 120 g tangential resistance) and two levels of reward amount (three or nine pellets) were combined to form four distinct response-effort/reward-amount pairings. Increasing reward amounts significantly shifted choice toward the FI schedule in both response-effort conditions. The incidence of choice preference and the magnitude of shifts in choice were greater for the high response-effort conditions than for the low response-effort conditions. Implications of the significant interaction between response effort and reward amount are discussed in terms of a general energy-budget model.

  11. 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…

  12. 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

  13. Assessing the roles of population density and predation risk in the evolution of offspring size in populations of a placental fish.

    PubMed

    Schrader, Matthew; Travis, Joseph

    2012-07-01

    Population density is an ecological variable that is hypothesized to be a major agent of selection on offspring size. In high-density populations, high levels of intraspecific competition are expected to favor the production of larger offspring. In contrast, lower levels of intraspecific competition and selection for large offspring should be weaker and more easily overridden by direct selection for increased fecundity in low-density populations. Some studies have found associations between population density and offspring size consistent with this hypothesis. However, their interpretations are often clouded by a number of issues. Here, we use data from a 10-year study of nine populations of the least killifish, Heterandria formosa, to describe the associations of offspring size with habitat type, population density, and predation risk. We found that females from spring populations generally produced larger offspring than females from ponds; however, the magnitude of this difference varied among years. Across all populations, larger offspring were associated with higher densities and lower risks of predation. Interestingly, the associations between the two ecological variables (density and predation risk) and offspring size were largely independent of one another. Our results suggest that previously described genetic differences in offspring size are due to density-dependent natural selection. PMID:22957156

  14. Assessing the roles of population density and predation risk in the evolution of offspring size in populations of a placental fish

    PubMed Central

    Schrader, Matthew; Travis, Joseph

    2012-01-01

    Population density is an ecological variable that is hypothesized to be a major agent of selection on offspring size. In high-density populations, high levels of intraspecific competition are expected to favor the production of larger offspring. In contrast, lower levels of intraspecific competition and selection for large offspring should be weaker and more easily overridden by direct selection for increased fecundity in low-density populations. Some studies have found associations between population density and offspring size consistent with this hypothesis. However, their interpretations are often clouded by a number of issues. Here, we use data from a 10-year study of nine populations of the least killifish, Heterandria formosa, to describe the associations of offspring size with habitat type, population density, and predation risk. We found that females from spring populations generally produced larger offspring than females from ponds; however, the magnitude of this difference varied among years. Across all populations, larger offspring were associated with higher densities and lower risks of predation. Interestingly, the associations between the two ecological variables (density and predation risk) and offspring size were largely independent of one another. Our results suggest that previously described genetic differences in offspring size are due to density-dependent natural selection. PMID:22957156

  15. Attracting predators without falling prey: chemical camouflage protects honeydew-producing treehoppers from ant predation.

    PubMed

    Silveira, Henrique C P; Oliveira, Paulo S; Trigo, José R

    2010-02-01

    Predaceous ants are dominant organisms on foliage and represent a constant threat to herbivorous insects. The honeydew of sap-feeding hemipterans has been suggested to appease aggressive ants, which then begin tending activities. Here, we manipulated the cuticular chemical profiles of freeze-dried insect prey to show that chemical background matching with the host plant protects Guayaquila xiphias treehoppers against predaceous Camponotus crassus ants, regardless of honeydew supply. Ant predation is increased when treehoppers are transferred to a nonhost plant with which they have low chemical similarity. Palatable moth larvae manipulated to match the chemical background of Guayaquila's host plant attracted lower numbers of predatory ants than unchanged controls. Although aggressive tending ants can protect honeydew-producing hemipterans from natural enemies, they may prey on the trophobionts under shortage of alternative food resources. Thus chemical camouflage in G. xiphias allows the trophobiont to attract predaceous bodyguards at reduced risk of falling prey itself.

  16. 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.

  17. A food web model of mercury transfer from stream sediment to predators of fish for ecological risk based clean-up goals

    SciTech Connect

    Burns, T.P.; Hadden, C.T.; Cornaby, B.W.; Mitz, S.V.

    1997-09-01

    A linear steady-state model of the food web linking sediment to piscivorous predators was used to derive ecological risk based clean-up concentrations for mercury in sediment of East Fork Poplar Creek (EFPC), Oak Ridge, TN. The model partitions aquatic invertebrates into two classes based on the primary source of exposure to mercury in sediment, and the prey-fish community into three classes based on differences in their diets and feeding habits. Biotransfer factors for the links between sediment and sediment-dwelling invertebrates, water and aquatic biota and fish, and prey and predators are published values. The model uses site specific data on the fraction of methylmercury in sediment, the relative abundance of prey fish, and the predicted flux of mercury from sediment. Monte Carlo analysis quantifies the uncertainty in the risk to top predators of fish. At 96 mg/kg mercury in sediment, less than 20% of the exposures exceed dietary limits for endpoint receptors. The fraction of methylmercury in sediment, the three biotransfer factors for methylmercury, and diet are sensitive parameters.

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Kauffman, Matthew J; Varley, Nathan; Smith, Douglas W; Stahler, Daniel R; MacNulty, Daniel R; Boyce, Mark S

    2007-08-01

    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. PMID:17594424

  20. 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

  1. Can generalist predators be effective biocontrol agents?

    PubMed

    Symondson, W O C; Sunderland, K D; Greenstone, M H

    2002-01-01

    Theoretical developments are helping us to comprehend the basic parameters governing the dynamics of the interactions between generalist predators and their many pest and nonpest prey. In practice, however, inter- and intraspecific interactions between generalist predators, and between the predators and their prey, within multispecies systems under the influence of rapidly changing biotic and abiotic variables are difficult to predict. We discuss trade-offs between the relative merits of specialists and generalists that allow both to be effective, and often complementary, under different circumstances. A review of manipulative field studies showed that in approximately 75% of cases, generalist predators, whether single species or species assemblages, reduced pest numbers significantly. Techniques for manipulating predator numbers to enhance pest control at different scales are discussed. We now need to find ways of disentangling the factors influencing positive and negative interactions within natural enemy communities in order to optimize beneficial synergies leading to pest control.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  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. 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)

  10. 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…

  11. Prey responses to predator chemical cues: disentangling the importance of the number and biomass of prey consumed.

    PubMed

    McCoy, Michael W; Touchon, Justin C; Landberg, Tobias; Warkentin, Karen M; Vonesh, James R

    2012-01-01

    To effectively balance investment in predator defenses versus other traits, organisms must accurately assess predation risk. Chemical cues caused by predation events are indicators of risk for prey in a wide variety of systems, but the relationship between how prey perceive risk in relation to the amount of prey consumed by predators is poorly understood. While per capita predation rate is often used as the metric of relative risk, studies aimed at quantifying predator-induced defenses commonly control biomass of prey consumed as the metric of risk. However, biomass consumed can change by altering either the number or size of prey consumed. In this study we determine whether phenotypic plasticity to predator chemical cues depends upon prey biomass consumed, prey number consumed, or both. We examine the growth response of red-eyed treefrog tadpoles (Agalychnis callidryas) to cues from a larval dragonfly (Anax amazili). Biomass consumed was manipulated by either increasing the number of prey while holding individual prey size constant, or by holding the number of prey constant and varying individual prey size. We address two questions. (i) Do prey reduce growth rate in response to chemical cues in a dose dependent manner? (ii) Does the magnitude of the response depend on whether prey consumption increases via number or size of prey? We find that the phenotypic response of prey is an asymptotic function of prey biomass consumed. However, the asymptotic response is higher when more prey are consumed. Our findings have important implications for evaluating past studies and how future experiments should be designed. A stronger response to predation cues generated by more individual prey deaths is consistent with models that predict prey sensitivity to per capita risk, providing a more direct link between empirical and theoretical studies which are often focused on changes in population sizes not individual biomass.

  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

  13. 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

  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. 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.

  17. Predators indirectly reduce the prevalence of an insect-vectored plant pathogen independent of predator diversity.

    PubMed

    Long, Elizabeth Y; Finke, Deborah L

    2015-04-01

    A widely cited benefit of predator diversity is greater suppression of insect herbivores, with corresponding increases in plant biomass. In the context of a vector-borne pathogen system, predator species richness may also influence plant disease risk via the direct effects of predators on the abundance and behavior of herbivores that also act as pathogen vectors. Using an assemblage of generalist insect predators, we examined the relationship between predator species richness and the prevalence of the aphid-vectored cereal yellow dwarf virus in wheat. We found that increasing predator richness enhanced suppression of the vector population and that pathogen prevalence was reduced when predators were present, but the reduction in prevalence was independent of predator species richness. To determine the mechanism(s) by which predator species richness contributes to vector suppression, but not pathogen prevalence, we evaluated vector movement and host plant occupancy in response to predator treatments. We found that pathogen prevalence was unrelated to vector suppression because host plant occupancy by vectors did not vary as a function of vector abundance. However, the presence of predators reduced pathogen prevalence because predators stimulated greater plant-to-plant movement by vectors, which likely diminished vector feeding time and reduced the transmission efficiency of this persistent pathogen. We conclude that community structure (i.e., the presence of predators), but not predator diversity, is a potential factor influencing local plant infection by this insect-vectored pathogen. PMID:25561170

  18. The rules of engagement: how to defend against combinations of predators.

    PubMed

    Hoverman, Jason T; Relyea, Rick A

    2007-12-01

    Studies of inducible defenses have traditionally examined prey responses to one predator at a time. However, prey in nature encounter combinations of predators that should force them to produce phenotypic compromises. We examined how snails (Helisoma trivolvis) alter their phenotype in the presence of three different predator species that were presented alone and in pairwise combinations. When snails were exposed to each predator alone, they formed predator-specific defenses that reflected the differences in each predator's foraging mode. When snails were exposed to pairwise combinations of predators, their phenotype was dependent on their ability to detect each predator, the risk posed by each predator, and the effectiveness of a given defense against each predator. Consequently, responses to combined predators were typically biased towards one of the predators in the pair. This suggests that prey facing combined predators do not form simple intermediate defenses and, as a result, may experience enhanced mortality risk when they encounter natural predator regimes.

  19. Reduced-risk pest management programs for eastern U.S. peach orchards: effects on arthropod predators, parasitoids, and select pests.

    PubMed

    Biddinger, David J; Leslie, Timothy W; Joshi, Neelendra K

    2014-06-01

    We developed new integrated pest management programs for eastern U.S. peaches with minimal use of organophosphates. From 2002-2005, we assessed the ecological impacts of these reduced-risk programs versus grower standard conventional programs that still relied primarily on the use of organophosphorous and carbamate insecticides. Using a split-plot design replicated at four commercial Pennsylvania peach orchards, we quantified pesticide rates, environmental impact, and arthropod community response. We used Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ) analysis based on the growers' pesticide records from each orchard to calculate seasonal cumulative EIQ field ratings for all years. Ecological effects of the reduced-risk and conventional program were also measured as the abundance and diversity of nontarget arthropod predators, parasitoids, and selected pest taxa. Pesticide inputs and EIQ values were substantially lower in reduced-risk programs compared with conventional spray programs. Arthropod arrays differed significantly between pest management programs: most beneficial predator and parasitoid taxa were positively associated with the reduced-risk program and negatively associated with the standard grower program. Regardless of the pest management program, we observed significant differences in species arrays in the peach tree canopy compared with the ground cover of the orchards, but the arthropod community did not differ among the field sites or based on distance from the edge of the orchard. We conclude that reduced-risk programs not only provide control comparable with that of conventional programs, but they also reduce negative environmental effects while conserving key arthropod biological control agents within eastern U.S. peach orchards.

  20. 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

  1. [The manipulators].

    PubMed

    Tschui, M

    1997-01-01

    During their long careers of counseling couples, Giovanna Stoll and Maurice Hurni have encountered couples in which psychological violence is exercised. Their book, ¿The Hate of Love, the Oddness of the Place,¿ explores strategies used in couples by one or both partners to subjugate the other and to be victorious in an ongoing struggle between the two. Two case examples are presented. Confronted with such deliberate meanness, health professionals long ago adopted a neutral stance on such behavior in an attempt to maintain professional distance from their clients. However, Stoll and Hurni abandoned their neutrality in the face of certain particularly brutal behaviors. The author describes Stoll and Hurni¿s professional experiences and the children of manipulative parents. The employer who pits his employees against each other is also discussed. Such manipulators are unable to have true friends, just as they are unable to live within loving, communicative relationships. They behave in calculated fashion, having only relationships which they deem to be useful and opportune. Respect, the capacity to give and receive, and empathy are alien notions to those who manipulate others. 40% of 1500 women aged 20-60 years old interviewed in a study of violence within the family report having been subjected to psychological violence during their married lives. 14% of these women report being either often or always sad. Women risk being denigrated, humiliated, harassed, controlled, and deprived.

  2. 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.

  3. Influence of dietary manipulation on incidence of atopic disease in infants at risk.

    PubMed

    Bardare, M; Vaccari, A; Allievi, E; Brunelli, L; Coco, F; de Gaspari, G C; Flauto, U

    1993-10-01

    Of 5,500 newborn infants whose family histories were screened, 900 were found to have anamnestic risk. Cord-blood IgE was evaluable in 4,677 of these newborns, of which 394 had levels > or = 1 IU/mL; 84 infants had both anamnestic risk and elevated cord-blood IgE levels. Parents of infants with anamnestic risk were informed of their child's risk of atopy. Additionally, for 391 infants at two of the three participating hospitals, a preventive diet was prescribed that recommended breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, with maternal diet restricted to no more than 200 dL of cow milk per day, no more than one egg per week, and no tomato, fish, shellfish, nuts, or foods allergenic to the mother. Only soy formula was recommended, and introduction of solid foods was also carefully prescribed. Furthermore, doctors recommended against exposure to tobacco smoke, animal allergens, and early entrance into daycare. Evaluable infants whose parents complied with the prescribed diet were found to have a lower incidence of atopy during the first year of life (13.3%, n = 158) than infants whose parents had ignored the prescribed diet (54.7%, n = 86) or infants whose parents were offered no dietary recommendations (28.9%, n = 218). Differences between the compliant group and the two groups with unrestricted diets were significant, indicating that this prescribed diet may protect against or delay onset of food allergies during the first year of life.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Risk as Feelings in the Effect of Patient Outcomes on Physicians' Subsequent Treatment Decisions: A Randomized Trial and Manipulation Validation

    PubMed Central

    Hemmerich, Joshua A; Elstein, Arthur S; Schwarze, Margaret L; Moliski, Elizabeth G; Dale, William

    2013-01-01

    The present study tested predictions derived from the Risk as Feelings hypothesis about the effects of prior patients' negative treatment outcomes on physicians' subsequent treatment decisions. Two experiments at The University of Chicago, U.S.A., utilized a computer simulation of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) patient with enhanced realism to present participants with one of three experimental conditions: AAA rupture causing a watchful waiting death (WWD), perioperative death (PD), or a successful operation (SO), as well as the statistical treatment guidelines for AAA. Experiment 1 tested effects of these simulated outcomes on (n=76) laboratory participants' (university student sample) self-reported emotions, and their ratings of valence and arousal of the AAA rupture simulation and other emotion inducing picture stimuli. Experiment 2 tested two hypotheses: 1) that experiencing a patient WWD in the practice trial's experimental condition would lead physicians to choose surgery earlier, and 2) experiencing a patient PD would lead physicians to choose surgery later with the next patient. Experiment 2 presented (n=132) physicians (surgeons and geriatricians) with the same experimental manipulation and a second simulated AAA patient. Physicians then chose to either go to surgery or continue watchful waiting. The results of Experiment 1 demonstrated that the WWD experimental condition significantly increased anxiety, and was rated similarly to other negative and arousing pictures. The results of Experiment 2 demonstrated that, after controlling for demographics, baseline anxiety, intolerance for uncertainty, risk attitudes, and the influence of simulation characteristics, the WWD experimental condition significantly expedited decisions to choose surgery for the next patient. The results support the Risk as Feelings hypothesis on physicians' treatment decisions in a realistic AAA patient computer simulation. Bad outcomes affected emotions and decisions, even with

  12. Predator arithmetic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    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 complex calculations such as long multiplication can be carried out more efficiently in base 5 than in base 10, and that base 5 is in fact close to being optimal in this regard. We also show that base 5 is small enough so that the intuitiveness of simple grouping and the efficiency of fully ciphered numerals can be combined effectively in a single notation, something which Hindu-Arabic numeration tries but fails to achieve. Furthermore, as a consequence of these notational advantages, we show that the basic operations of arithmetic, addition and subtraction, also borrowing and carrying (regrouping), are easier to teach and to learn in base 5 than in base 10. Finally we show that, even though a shift from base 10 to base 5 may not be a realistic possibility, there are many ways in which the teaching of elementary arithmetic could be improved significantly, along the lines of Predator arithmetic, and which could be implemented at little cost within our current Hindu-Arabic system.

  13. 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.

  14. 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)

  15. Cooperation in defence against a predator.

    PubMed

    Garay, József

    2009-03-01

    The origin and the evolutionary stability of cooperation between unrelated individuals is one of the key problems of evolutionary biology. In this paper, a cooperative defence game against a predator is introduced which is based on Hamilton's selfish herd theory and Eshel's survival game models. Cooperation is altruistic in the sense that the individual, which is not the target of the predator, helps the members of the group attacked by the predator and during defensive action the helper individual may also die in any attack. In order to decrease the long term predation risk, this individual has to carry out a high risk action. Here I show that this kind of cooperative behaviour can evolve in small groups. The reason for the emergence of cooperation is that if the predator does not kill a mate of a cooperative individual, then the survival probability of the cooperative individual will increase in two cases. If the mate is non-cooperative, then-according to the dilution effect, the predator confusion effect and the higher predator vigilance-the survival probability of the cooperative individual increases. The second case is when the mate is cooperative, because a cooperative individual has a further gain, the active help in defence during further predator attacks. Thus, if an individual can increase the survival rate of its mates (no matter whether the mate is cooperative or not), then its own predation risk will decrease.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-01

    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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Bioaccumulation and human health risk assessment of DDT and other organochlorine pesticides in an apex aquatic predator from a premier conservation area.

    PubMed

    Gerber, Ruan; Smit, Nico J; Van Vuren, Johan H J; Nakayama, Shouta M M; Yohannes, Yared B; Ikenaka, Yoshinori; Ishizuka, Mayumi; Wepener, Victor

    2016-04-15

    With the second highest gross domestic product in Africa, South Africa is known to have a high pesticide usage, including the highly persistent and banned group of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs). South Africa is also one of few countries to still actively spray DDT as malaria vector control. The aim of the study was to determine the degree to which aquatic biota in selected rivers of the world renowned Kruger National Park (KNP) are exposed to by use of OCPs in the catchments outside the KNP and how this exposure relates to human health. Tigerfish (Hydrocynus vittatus) are economically important apex predators and was selected as bioindicator for this study. Fish were sampled from the KNP sections of the Luvuvhu, Letaba and Olifants rivers during the high and low flow periods from 2010 to 2011 within the KNP and 19 OCPs were determined in muscle tissue using GC-ECD techniques. Significant flow related and spatial OCP bioaccumulation was observed. Tigerfish from the Luvuvhu River displayed the highest OCP bioaccumulation. Concentrations of the majority of the OCPs including the DDTs were the highest levels ever recorded from South African freshwater systems and in many cases the concentrations were higher than most contaminated areas from around the world. The concentrations found in H. vittatus muscle also exceeded maximum residue levels in edible fat as set by the European Union. The health risk assessment also demonstrated that the levels of OCPs pose very high cancer risks to the local populations consuming tigerfish, as high as 2 in 10 increased risk factor. This is of concern not only when managing the water resources of the conservation area but also for surrounding communities consuming freshwater fish. Contaminants enter the park from outside the borders and pose potential risks to the mandated conservation of aquatic biota within the KNP.

  4. Do predators influence the behaviour of bats?

    PubMed

    Lima, Steven L; O'Keefe, Joy M

    2013-08-01

    Many aspects of animal behaviour are affected by real-time changes in the risk of predation. This conclusion holds for virtually all taxa and ecological systems studied, but does it hold for bats? Bats are poorly represented in the literature on anti-predator behaviour, which may reflect a lack of nocturnal predators specialized on bats. If bats actually experience a world with minimal anti-predator concerns, then they will provide a unique contrast within the realm of vertebrate ecology. Alternatively, such predator-driven behaviour in bats may not yet be fully understood, given the difficulties in working with these highly mobile and nocturnal animals. We provide a wide-ranging exploration of these issues in bat behaviour. We first cover the basic predator-prey information available on bats, both on potential predators and the ways in which bats might perceive predators and respond to attacks. We then cover work relevant to key aspects of bat behaviour, such as choice of daytime roosts, the nature of sleep and torpor, evening roost departures, moonlight avoidance, landscape-related movement patterns, and habitat selection. Overall, the evidence in favour of a strong influence of predators on bat behaviour is equivocal, with the picture clouded by contradictory results and a lack of information on potential predators and the perception of risk by bats. It seems clear that day-active bats run a considerable risk of being killed by diurnal raptors, which are able to capture bats with relative ease. Thus, bats taking advantage of a pulse of insects just prior to sunset are likely taking risks to gain much-needed energy. Further, the choice of daytime roosts by bats is probably strongly influenced by roost safety. Few studies, however, have directly addressed either of these topics. As a group, insectivorous temperate-zone bats show no clear tendency to avoid apparently risky situations, such as activity on moonlit nights. However, some observations are consistent

  5. Experimental evidence of an age-specific shift in chemical detection of predators in a lizard.

    PubMed

    Head, Megan L; Keogh, J Scott; Doughty, Paul

    2002-03-01

    The risk posed by predation is one of the most fundamental aspects of an animal's environment. Avoidance of predators implies an ability to obtain reliable information about the risk of predation, and for many species, chemosensory cues are likely to be an important source of such information. Chemosensory cues reliably reveal the presence of predators or their presence in the recent past. We used retreat site selection experiments to test whether the Australian scincid lizard Eulamprus heatwolei uses chemical cues for predator detection and avoidance. Both adult and juvenile lizards were given the choice of retreat sites treated with scents from invertebrate predators, as well as sympatric and allopatric snake predators. Some of the snake predators were known to eat E. heatwolei, while others did not pose a predation threat. All invertebrate predators posed a risk to juveniles, but not adults because of their size. We found that juvenile E. heatwolei avoided predator odors more strongly than adults. Juveniles avoided both invertebrate predators and snakes, and the strongest response was toward the funnel web spider, the only ambush predator used in this experiment. This result may demonstrate the importance of predator ecology in the evolution of predator detection mechanisms, with chemical cues being more useful in detecting sedentary predators than active predators. Adult lizards showed no avoidance behavior toward predator odors. This result suggests an age specific shift in predator avoidance behavior as lizards get older and become too large for many predators. However, adults showed no response to the odor from the red-bellied black snake, a known predator of adult E. heatwolei. This finding further demonstrates the importance of predator ecology when examining communication between predators and prey. Chemical cues, which are persistent long after predators have vacated the area, may not be useful in detecting the red-bellied black snake, a wide

  6. Selective Predation of a Stalking Predator on Ungulate Prey.

    PubMed

    Heurich, Marco; Zeis, Klara; Küchenhoff, Helmut; Müller, Jörg; Belotti, Elisa; Bufka, Luděk; Woelfing, Benno

    2016-01-01

    Prey selection is a key factor shaping animal populations and evolutionary dynamics. An optimal forager should target prey that offers the highest benefits in terms of energy content at the lowest costs. Predators are therefore expected to select for prey of optimal size. Stalking predators do not pursue their prey long, which may lead to a more random choice of prey individuals. Due to difficulties in assessing the composition of available prey populations, data on prey selection of stalking carnivores are still scarce. We show how the stalking predator Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) selects prey individuals based on species identity, age, sex and individual behaviour. To address the difficulties in assessing prey population structure, we confirm inferred selection patterns by using two independent data sets: (1) data of 387 documented kills of radio-collared lynx were compared to the prey population structure retrieved from systematic camera trapping using Manly's standardized selection ratio alpha and (2) data on 120 radio-collared roe deer were analysed using a Cox proportional hazards model. Among the larger red deer prey, lynx selected against adult males-the largest and potentially most dangerous prey individuals. In roe deer lynx preyed selectively on males and did not select for a specific age class. Activity during high risk periods reduced the risk of falling victim to a lynx attack. Our results suggest that the stalking predator lynx actively selects for size, while prey behaviour induces selection by encounter and stalking success rates. PMID:27548478

  7. Selective Predation of a Stalking Predator on Ungulate Prey

    PubMed Central

    Heurich, Marco; Zeis, Klara; Küchenhoff, Helmut; Müller, Jörg; Belotti, Elisa; Bufka, Luděk; Woelfing, Benno

    2016-01-01

    Prey selection is a key factor shaping animal populations and evolutionary dynamics. An optimal forager should target prey that offers the highest benefits in terms of energy content at the lowest costs. Predators are therefore expected to select for prey of optimal size. Stalking predators do not pursue their prey long, which may lead to a more random choice of prey individuals. Due to difficulties in assessing the composition of available prey populations, data on prey selection of stalking carnivores are still scarce. We show how the stalking predator Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) selects prey individuals based on species identity, age, sex and individual behaviour. To address the difficulties in assessing prey population structure, we confirm inferred selection patterns by using two independent data sets: (1) data of 387 documented kills of radio-collared lynx were compared to the prey population structure retrieved from systematic camera trapping using Manly’s standardized selection ratio alpha and (2) data on 120 radio-collared roe deer were analysed using a Cox proportional hazards model. Among the larger red deer prey, lynx selected against adult males—the largest and potentially most dangerous prey individuals. In roe deer lynx preyed selectively on males and did not select for a specific age class. Activity during high risk periods reduced the risk of falling victim to a lynx attack. Our results suggest that the stalking predator lynx actively selects for size, while prey behaviour induces selection by encounter and stalking success rates. PMID:27548478

  8. Selective Predation of a Stalking Predator on Ungulate Prey.

    PubMed

    Heurich, Marco; Zeis, Klara; Küchenhoff, Helmut; Müller, Jörg; Belotti, Elisa; Bufka, Luděk; Woelfing, Benno

    2016-01-01

    Prey selection is a key factor shaping animal populations and evolutionary dynamics. An optimal forager should target prey that offers the highest benefits in terms of energy content at the lowest costs. Predators are therefore expected to select for prey of optimal size. Stalking predators do not pursue their prey long, which may lead to a more random choice of prey individuals. Due to difficulties in assessing the composition of available prey populations, data on prey selection of stalking carnivores are still scarce. We show how the stalking predator Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) selects prey individuals based on species identity, age, sex and individual behaviour. To address the difficulties in assessing prey population structure, we confirm inferred selection patterns by using two independent data sets: (1) data of 387 documented kills of radio-collared lynx were compared to the prey population structure retrieved from systematic camera trapping using Manly's standardized selection ratio alpha and (2) data on 120 radio-collared roe deer were analysed using a Cox proportional hazards model. Among the larger red deer prey, lynx selected against adult males-the largest and potentially most dangerous prey individuals. In roe deer lynx preyed selectively on males and did not select for a specific age class. Activity during high risk periods reduced the risk of falling victim to a lynx attack. Our results suggest that the stalking predator lynx actively selects for size, while prey behaviour induces selection by encounter and stalking success rates.

  9. Rapid habituation by mosquito larvae to predator kairomones.

    PubMed

    Roberts, Derek

    2014-12-01

    Larvae of some species of mosquitoes have been shown to respond to water-borne kairomones from predators by reducing bottom-feeding and replacing it with surface filter-feeding, which uses less movement and is thus less likely to attract a predator. However, if no predator attack takes place, then it would be more efficient to use a risk allocation strategy of habituating their response depending on the predator and the overall risk. The larvae of Culiseta longiareolata Macquart live in temporary rain-filled pools, where they are exposed to a high level of predation. Within one hour, they responded to kairomones from dragonfly or damselfly nymphs, or to the fish Aphanius, by significantly reducing bottom-feeding activity. Continued exposure to the predator kairomones resulted in habituation of their response to damselflies, a slower habituation to fish, but no habituation to dragonflies even after 30 h. In contrast, the larvae of Culex quinquefasciatus Say normally live in highly polluted and thus anaerobic water, where the predation risk will be much lower. They also showed a significant reduction in bottom-feeding after 1 h of exposure to predator kairomones but had completely habituated this response within 6 h of continuous exposure. Some species of mosquito larvae can thus show a very rapid habituation to predator kairomones, while others only habituate slowly depending on the predator and overall predation risk. PMID:25424265

  10. Viruses manipulate the marine environment.

    PubMed

    Rohwer, Forest; Thurber, Rebecca Vega

    2009-05-14

    Marine viruses affect Bacteria, Archaea and eukaryotic organisms and are major components of the marine food web. Most studies have focused on their role as predators and parasites, but many of the interactions between marine viruses and their hosts are much more complicated. A series of recent studies has shown that viruses have the ability to manipulate the life histories and evolution of their hosts in remarkable ways, challenging our understanding of this almost invisible world.

  11. Predation as a determinant of minimum group size in baboons.

    PubMed

    Bettridge, Caroline M; Dunbar, R I M

    2012-01-01

    Predation risk places a pressure on animals to adopt mechanisms by which they reduce their individual risk of being preyed on. However, a consensus on methods of determining predation risk has yet to be reached. One of the most widespread ways in which animals respond to predation risk is by living in groups. Minimum permissible group size is the smallest group size that animals are able to live in, given the habitat-specific predation risk they face. We explore ways in which predation risk can be measured and analyse its effect on minimum observed group size in baboons. Using data on predator density, habitat composition and baboon body size, we investigate the impact of the components of predation risk on baboon group size, and derive an equation that best predicts minimum group size. Minimum group size in baboons is related to predator density and female body mass. Both of these elements can, in turn, be estimated from environmental variables. These findings present support for the argument that group living in primates is a response to predation risk and offer potentially new ways of investigating carnivore and primate ecology. PMID:23363593

  12. Egg Predation by the Introduced Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), Lowers Mortality but Raises Relative Risk for the Native Lady Beetle, Coccinella novemnotata.

    PubMed

    Turnipseed, Rakim; Ugine, Todd A; Losey, John E

    2015-01-01

    Populations of the native ninespotted lady beetle, Coccinella novemnotata Herbst, have undergone precipitous declines in North America following the establishment of the exotic sevenspotted lady beetle, Coccinella septempunctata L. Recent volunteer efforts have made it possible to establish colonies of the now-rare C. novemnotata and test mechanisms contributing to its decline. We evaluated the relative frequencies of intraguild predation and cannibalism of eggs between these two species. A single C. novemnotata or C. septempunctata adult was exposed to conspecific and heterospecific eggs in either the presence or absence of pea aphids. The study revealed two expected results: 1) eggs of C. novemnotata were consumed more frequently than eggs of C. septempunctata by both species, and 2) egg consumption was higher when aphids were absent, independent of predator and egg species. There were also two unexpected results from the study: 1) the asymmetry between egg predation rates was higher when aphids were present, and 2) higher predation rates on C. novemnotata eggs in the absence of alternate prey was due to a relatively higher rate of intraspecific cannibalism. This implies that C. novemnotata would have suffered higher egg mortality rates before the invasion of C. septempunctata, but even though the aggregate rate of egg predation on C. novemnotata eggs is lower post-invasion, it is still significantly higher than the aggregate rate of predation of C. septempunctata eggs. This differential pattern of asymmetric predation could contribute to habitat compression and the overall decline of C. novemnotata. PMID:26090935

  13. Egg Predation by the Introduced Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), Lowers Mortality but Raises Relative Risk for the Native Lady Beetle, Coccinella novemnotata.

    PubMed

    Turnipseed, Rakim; Ugine, Todd A; Losey, John E

    2015-01-01

    Populations of the native ninespotted lady beetle, Coccinella novemnotata Herbst, have undergone precipitous declines in North America following the establishment of the exotic sevenspotted lady beetle, Coccinella septempunctata L. Recent volunteer efforts have made it possible to establish colonies of the now-rare C. novemnotata and test mechanisms contributing to its decline. We evaluated the relative frequencies of intraguild predation and cannibalism of eggs between these two species. A single C. novemnotata or C. septempunctata adult was exposed to conspecific and heterospecific eggs in either the presence or absence of pea aphids. The study revealed two expected results: 1) eggs of C. novemnotata were consumed more frequently than eggs of C. septempunctata by both species, and 2) egg consumption was higher when aphids were absent, independent of predator and egg species. There were also two unexpected results from the study: 1) the asymmetry between egg predation rates was higher when aphids were present, and 2) higher predation rates on C. novemnotata eggs in the absence of alternate prey was due to a relatively higher rate of intraspecific cannibalism. This implies that C. novemnotata would have suffered higher egg mortality rates before the invasion of C. septempunctata, but even though the aggregate rate of egg predation on C. novemnotata eggs is lower post-invasion, it is still significantly higher than the aggregate rate of predation of C. septempunctata eggs. This differential pattern of asymmetric predation could contribute to habitat compression and the overall decline of C. novemnotata.

  14. Egg Predation by the Introduced Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), Lowers Mortality but Raises Relative Risk for the Native Lady Beetle, Coccinella novemnotata

    PubMed Central

    Turnipseed, Rakim; Ugine, Todd A.; Losey, John E.

    2015-01-01

    Populations of the native ninespotted lady beetle, Coccinella novemnotata Herbst, have undergone precipitous declines in North America following the establishment of the exotic sevenspotted lady beetle, Coccinella septempunctata L. Recent volunteer efforts have made it possible to establish colonies of the now-rare C. novemnotata and test mechanisms contributing to its decline. We evaluated the relative frequencies of intraguild predation and cannibalism of eggs between these two species. A single C. novemnotata or C. septempunctata adult was exposed to conspecific and heterospecific eggs in either the presence or absence of pea aphids. The study revealed two expected results: 1) eggs of C. novemnotata were consumed more frequently than eggs of C. septempunctata by both species, and 2) egg consumption was higher when aphids were absent, independent of predator and egg species. There were also two unexpected results from the study: 1) the asymmetry between egg predation rates was higher when aphids were present, and 2) higher predation rates on C. novemnotata eggs in the absence of alternate prey was due to a relatively higher rate of intraspecific cannibalism. This implies that C. novemnotata would have suffered higher egg mortality rates before the invasion of C. septempunctata, but even though the aggregate rate of egg predation on C. novemnotata eggs is lower post-invasion, it is still significantly higher than the aggregate rate of predation of C. septempunctata eggs. This differential pattern of asymmetric predation could contribute to habitat compression and the overall decline of C. novemnotata. PMID:26090935

  15. Consequences of induced hatching plasticity depend on predator community.

    PubMed

    Wojdak, Jeremy M; Touchon, Justin C; Hite, Jessica L; Meyer, Beth; Vonesh, James R

    2014-08-01

    Many prey species face trade-offs in the timing of life history switch points like hatching and metamorphosis. Costs associated with transitioning early depend on the biotic and abiotic conditions found in the subsequent life stage. The red-eyed treefrog, Agalychnis callidryas, faces risks from predators in multiple, successive life stages, and can hatch early in response to mortality threats at the egg stage. Here we tested how the consequences of life history plasticity, specifically early hatching in response to terrestrial egg predators, depend on the assemblage of aquatic larval predators. We predicted that diverse predator assemblages would impose lower total predation pressure than the most effective single predator species and might thereby reduce the costs of hatching early. We then conducted a mesocosm experiment where we crossed hatchling phenotype (early vs. normal hatching) with five larval-predator environments (no predators, either waterbugs, dragonflies, or mosquitofish singly, or all three predator species together). The consequences of hatching early varied across predator treatments, and tended to disappear through time in some predation treatments, notably the waterbug and diverse predator assemblages. We demonstrate that the fitness costs of life history plasticity in an early life stage depend critically on the predator community composition in the next stage.

  16. Predation at the Shore.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cook, Helen M.; Matthews, Catherine E.; Hildreth, David P.; Couch, Emma

    2003-01-01

    Describes 10 predator/prey relationships that occur on the coast. Predators are compared to criminals and prey to their victims along with details of crime scenes. Accurately describes the habits and habitats of the criminals and presents games and activities that feature the relationships between predators and their prey. (Author/SOE)

  17. Plastic and Heritable Variation in Shell Thickness of the Intertidal Gastropod Nucella lapillus Associated with Risks of Crab Predation and Wave Action, and Sexual Maturation

    PubMed Central

    Pascoal, Sonia; Carvalho, Gary; Creer, Simon; Mendo, Sonia; Hughes, Roger

    2012-01-01

    The intertidal snail Nucella lapillus generally has thicker shells at sites sheltered from wave action, where crabs are abundant and pose a high risk of predation, than at exposed sites where crabs are rare. We studied two populations showing the opposite trend. We reciprocally transplanted snails between field sites and measured shell length, width and lip thickness of those recaptured 12 months later. Snails transplanted to the sheltered site grew larger than sheltered-site residents, which in turn grew larger than transplants to the exposed site. Relative shell-lip thickness was greater in residents at the exposed site than at the sheltered site. Transplants from shelter to exposure developed relatively thicker shells than their controls and relatively thinner shells from exposure to shelter. Progeny of the two populations were reared for 12 months in a common garden experiment presenting effluent from crabs feeding on broken conspecifics as the treatment and fresh sea-water as the control. The crab-effluent treatment decreased foraging activity, concomitantly reducing cumulative somatic growth and reproductive output. Juveniles receiving crab-effluent grew slower in shell length while developing relatively thicker shell lips than controls, the level of response being similar between lineages. F2 progeny of the exposed-site lineage showed similar trends to the F1s; sheltered-site F2s were too few for statistical analysis. At sexual maturity, shell-lip thickness was greater in snails receiving crab-effluent than in controls, indicating plasticity, but was also greater in the exposed-site than in the sheltered-site lineage, indicating heritable variation, probably in degree of sexual thickening of the shell lip. Results corroborate hypotheses that ‘defensive’ shell thickening is a passive consequence of starvation and that heritable and plastic control of defensive shell morphology act synergistically. Shell thickening of juveniles was similar between lineages

  18. Predator diversity effects in an exotic freshwater food web.

    PubMed

    Naddafi, Rahmat; Rudstam, Lars G

    2013-01-01

    Cascading trophic interactions are often defined as the indirect effects of a predator on primary producers through the effect of the predator on herbivores. These effects can be both direct through removal of herbivores [density-mediated indirect interactions (DMIIs)] or indirect through changes in the behavior of the herbivores [trait-mediated indirect interactions (TMIIs)]. How the relative importance of these two indirect interactions varies with predator diversity remains poorly understood. We tested the effect of predator diversity on both TMIIs and DMIIs on phytoplankton using two competitive invasive dreissenid mussel species (zebra mussel and quagga mussel) as the herbivores and combinations of one, two or all three species of the predators pumpkinseed sunfish, round goby, and rusty crayfish. Predators had either direct access to mussels and induced both TMII and DMII, or no direct access and induced only TMII through the presence of risk cues. In both sets of treatments, the predators induced a trophic cascade which resulted in more phytoplankton remaining with predators present than with only mussels present. The trophic cascade was weaker in three-predator and two-predator treatments than in one-predator treatments when predators had direct access to dreissenids (DMIIs and TMIIs). Crayfish had higher cascading effects on phytoplankton than both pumpkinseed and round goby. Increased predator diversity decreased the strength of DMIIs but had no effect on the strength of TMIIs. The strength of TMIIs was higher with zebra than quagga mussels. Our study suggests that inter-specific interference among predators in multi-species treatments weakens the consumptive cascading effects of predation on lower trophic levels whereas the importance of predator diversity on trait mediated effects depends on predator identity. PMID:23991126

  19. Predator Diversity Effects in an Exotic Freshwater Food Web

    PubMed Central

    Naddafi, Rahmat; Rudstam, Lars G.

    2013-01-01

    Cascading trophic interactions are often defined as the indirect effects of a predator on primary producers through the effect of the predator on herbivores. These effects can be both direct through removal of herbivores [density-mediated indirect interactions (DMIIs)] or indirect through changes in the behavior of the herbivores [trait-mediated indirect interactions (TMIIs)]. How the relative importance of these two indirect interactions varies with predator diversity remains poorly understood. We tested the effect of predator diversity on both TMIIs and DMIIs on phytoplankton using two competitive invasive dreissenid mussel species (zebra mussel and quagga mussel) as the herbivores and combinations of one, two or all three species of the predators pumpkinseed sunfish, round goby, and rusty crayfish. Predators had either direct access to mussels and induced both TMII and DMII, or no direct access and induced only TMII through the presence of risk cues. In both sets of treatments, the predators induced a trophic cascade which resulted in more phytoplankton remaining with predators present than with only mussels present. The trophic cascade was weaker in three-predator and two-predator treatments than in one-predator treatments when predators had direct access to dreissenids (DMIIs and TMIIs). Crayfish had higher cascading effects on phytoplankton than both pumpkinseed and round goby. Increased predator diversity decreased the strength of DMIIs but had no effect on the strength of TMIIs. The strength of TMIIs was higher with zebra than quagga mussels. Our study suggests that inter-specific interference among predators in multi-species treatments weakens the consumptive cascading effects of predation on lower trophic levels whereas the importance of predator diversity on trait mediated effects depends on predator identity. PMID:23991126

  20. Exploratory behaviour and novel predator recognition: behavioural correlations across contexts.

    PubMed

    Blake, C A; Gabor, C R

    2016-08-01

    It was hypothesized that the exploratory behaviour of an individual measured in a novel environment could predict its behaviour in response to a novel predator. This study examined novel predator recognition in the western mosquitofish Gambusia affinis, a species with individual differences in risk-taking, activity and exploration in novel environments. Prey responded with characteristic shoaling and avoidance in response to native predators, but did not show characteristic antipredator behaviour towards novel predators. Furthermore, G. affinis exhibited individual-level behavioural correlations across contexts but only when prey were tested with native predators. This could be the result of native predatory selection on behavioural correlations in the prey species. PMID:27220896

  1. Top-Down Control of Stream Food Webs: How to Detect a Predator's Impact on Physiological Fitness of Macroinvertebrates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ortmann, C.; Hellmann, C.; Benndorf, J.; Koop, J. H.

    2005-05-01

    Before prey is extinguished by its predator physiological stress increases. This is true for a single individual as well as on a population level. We prove this assumption for the first time in a field experiment. It is designed as a paired ecosystem study of two streams with benthivorous fish as predators. So far, top-down manipulation is well established in lentic habitats in order to improve water quality. However, there is hardly any physiological approach to be found within former projects. Behavioral changes to avoid predator encounters are well known concepts, nevertheless every organism is obliged to obtain food and energy for growth and reproduction, they cannot totally avoid their predators. Increased stress during fight or flight reactions will change the energy charge inside the cells (nucleotide composition). Certain metabolites like phosphagens will decrease while others like lactate may accumulate. On a long time scale increased stress will result in lower energy storage, mainly detectable as lower glycogen and triglyceride content compared to individuals without high predation risks. Together with the determination of species biomasses and abundances it should be possible to develop a comprehensive impression of sub lethal effects within the invertebrate community. (supported by German Research Foundation)

  2. Robot Manipulators

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1988-01-01

    Space Shuttle's Remote Manipulator System (Canadarm) is a 50 foot robot arm used to deploy, retrieve or repair satellites in orbit. Initial spinoff version is designed to remove, inspect and replace large components of Ontario Hydro's CANDU nuclear reactors, which supply 50 percent of Ontario Hydro's total power reduction. CANDU robot is the first of SPAR's Remote Manipulator Systems intended for remote materials handling operations in nuclear servicing, chemical processing, smelting and manufacturing. Inco Limited used remote manipulator for remote control mining equipment to enhance safety and productivity of Inco's hardrock mining operations. System not only improves safety in a hazardous operation that costs more than a score of lives annually, it also increases productivity fourfold. Remote Manipulator System Division is also manufacturing a line of industrial robots and developing additional system for nuclear servicing, mining, defense and space operations.

  3. ENSO, nest predation risk, food abundance, and male status fail to explain annual variations in the apparent survival rate of a migratory songbird.

    PubMed

    Vernouillet, Alizée; Villard, Marc-André; Haché, Samuel

    2014-01-01

    Adult mortality can be a major driver of population decline in species whose productivity is relatively low. Yet, little is known about the factors influencing adult survival rates in migratory bird species, nor do we know much about the longer-term effects of habitat disturbance on the fitness of individuals. The Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) is one of the vertebrate species most sensitive to forest management, yet it is still common and widespread. We monitored the fate of 330 colour-banded Ovenbird males in four pairs of 25-ha plots during 9 successive breeding seasons. One plot of each pair was treated through selection harvesting (30-40% basal area removed) during the first winter. We tested the following hypotheses: (1) higher physiological costs in harvested plots as a result of lower food abundance will reduce apparent survival rate (ASR) relative to controls; (2) lower ASR following years with low nest survival and higher probability of renesting; (3) fluctuations in ASR reflecting El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO); and (4) higher ASR in returning males than in recruits (unbanded immigrants) owing to greater site familiarity in the former. We tested the relative importance of these hypotheses, or combinations thereof, by generating 23 models explaining variation in ASR. The year-dependent model received the most support, showing a 41% decrease in ASR from 2007 to 2014. The important year-to-year variation we observed in ASR (Σw(i) = 0.99) was not explained by variation in nest predation risk nor by ENSO. There was also little evidence for an effect of selection harvesting on ASR of Ovenbird males, despite a slight reduction in lifespan relative to males from control plots (2.7 vs 2.9 years). An avenue worth exploring to explain this intriguing pattern would be to determine whether conditions at migratory stopover sites or in the wintering area of our focal population have gradually worsened over the past decade.

  4. ENSO, Nest Predation Risk, Food Abundance, and Male Status Fail to Explain Annual Variations in the Apparent Survival Rate of a Migratory Songbird

    PubMed Central

    Vernouillet, Alizée; Villard, Marc-André; Haché, Samuel

    2014-01-01

    Adult mortality can be a major driver of population decline in species whose productivity is relatively low. Yet, little is known about the factors influencing adult survival rates in migratory bird species, nor do we know much about the longer-term effects of habitat disturbance on the fitness of individuals. The Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) is one of the vertebrate species most sensitive to forest management, yet it is still common and widespread. We monitored the fate of 330 colour-banded Ovenbird males in four pairs of 25-ha plots during 9 successive breeding seasons. One plot of each pair was treated through selection harvesting (30–40% basal area removed) during the first winter. We tested the following hypotheses: (1) higher physiological costs in harvested plots as a result of lower food abundance will reduce apparent survival rate (ASR) relative to controls; (2) lower ASR following years with low nest survival and higher probability of renesting; (3) fluctuations in ASR reflecting El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO); and (4) higher ASR in returning males than in recruits (unbanded immigrants) owing to greater site familiarity in the former. We tested the relative importance of these hypotheses, or combinations thereof, by generating 23 models explaining variation in ASR. The year-dependent model received the most support, showing a 41% decrease in ASR from 2007 to 2014. The important year-to-year variation we observed in ASR (Σwi = 0.99) was not explained by variation in nest predation risk nor by ENSO. There was also little evidence for an effect of selection harvesting on ASR of Ovenbird males, despite a slight reduction in lifespan relative to males from control plots (2.7 vs 2.9 years). An avenue worth exploring to explain this intriguing pattern would be to determine whether conditions at migratory stopover sites or in the wintering area of our focal population have gradually worsened over the past decade. PMID:25419839

  5. Rhinoceros beetles suffer male-biased predation by mammalian and avian predators.

    PubMed

    Kojima, Wataru; Sugiura, Shinji; Makihara, Hiroshi; Ishikawa, Yukio; Takanashi, Takuma

    2014-03-01

    Male sexually-selected traits often impose an increased risk of predation on their bearers, causing male-biased predation. We investigated whether males of the sap-feeding Japanese rhinoceros beetle Trypoxylus dichotomus were more susceptible to predation than females by comparing the morphology of beetles caught in bait traps with the remains of beetles found on the ground. The males of this species are larger than the females and have a horn on the head. We found that predation pressure was greater for males than for females, and that larger individuals of both sexes were more vulnerable to predation. We identified two predators, the raccoon dog Nyctereutes procyonoides and jungle crow Corvus macrorhynchos, by monitoring sap-site trees with infrared video cameras. Raccoon dogs visited sap-site trees at night, while crows came after daybreak. The highest frequency of visits by both predators was observed in the first half of August, which matches the peak season of T. dichotomus. Raccoon dogs often left bite marks on the remains of prey, whereas crows did not. Bite marks were found on most of the remains collected at two distant localities, which suggested that predation by raccoon dogs is common. Size- and sex-dependent differences in the conspicuousness and active period of T. dichotomus probably explain these biased predation patterns. Our results suggest that having a large horn/body is costly in terms of the increased risk of predation. Predation cost may act as a stabilizing selection pressure against the further exaggeration of male sexual traits. PMID:24601771

  6. Predator cannibalism can intensify negative impacts on heterospecific prey.

    PubMed

    Takatsu, Kunio; Kishida, Osamu

    2015-07-01

    Although natural populations consist of individuals with different traits, and the degree of phenotypic variation varies among populations, the impact of phenotypic variation on ecological interactions has received little attention, because traditional approaches to community ecology assume homogeneity of individuals within a population. Stage structure, which is a common way of generating size and developmental variation within predator populations, can drive cannibalistic interactions, which can affect the strength of predatory effects on the predator's heterospecific prey. Studies have shown that predator cannibalism weakens predatory effects on heterospecific prey by reducing the size of the predator population and by inducing less feeding activity of noncannibal predators. We predict, however, that predator cannibalism, by promoting rapid growth of the cannibals, can also intensify predation pressure on heterospecific prey, because large predators have large resource requirements and may utilize a wider variety of prey species. To test this hypothesis, we conducted an experiment in which we created carnivorous salamander (Hynobius retardatus) populations with different stage structures by manipulating the salamander's hatch timing (i.e., populations with large or small variation in the timing of hatching), and explored the resultant impacts on the abundance, behavior, morphology, and life history of the salamander's large heterospecific prey, Rana pirica frog tadpoles. Cannibalism was rare in salamander populations having small hatch-timing variation, but was frequent in those having large hatch-timing variation. Thus, giant salamander cannibals occurred only in the latter. We clearly showed that salamander giants exerted strong predation pressure on frog tadpoles, which induced large behavioral and morphological defenses in the tadpoles and caused them to metamorphose late at large size. Hence, predator cannibalism arising from large variation in the timing

  7. Predator nonconsumptive effects on prey recruitment weaken with recruit density.

    PubMed

    Ellrich, Julius A; Scrosati, Ricardo A; Molis, Markus

    2015-03-01

    We investigated the nonconsumptive effects (NCEs) of predatory dogwhelks (Nucella lapillus) on intertidal barnacle (Semibalanus balanoides) recruitment through field experiments on the Gulf of St. Lawrence coast and the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. We studied the recruitment seasons (May-June) of 2011 and 2013. In 2011, the Gulf coast had five times more nearshore phytoplankton (food for barnacle larvae and recruits) during the recruitment season and yielded a 58% higher barnacle recruit density than the Atlantic coast at the end of the recruitment season. In 2013, phytoplankton levels and barnacle recruit density were similar on both coasts and also lower than for the Gulf coast in 2011. Using the comparative-experimental method, the manipulation of dogwhelk presence (without allowing physical contact with prey) revealed that dogwhelk cues limited barnacle recruitment under moderate recruit densities (Atlantic 2011/2013 and Gulf 2013) but had no effect under a high recruit density (Gulf 2011). Barnacle recruits attract settling larvae through chemical cues. Thus, the highest recruit density appears to have neutralized dogwhelk effects. This study suggests that the predation risk perceived by settling larvae may decrease with increasing recruit density and that prey food supply may indirectly influence predator NCEs on prey recruitment. PMID:26236858

  8. Underwater manipulator

    SciTech Connect

    Schrum, Phillip B.; Cohen, George H.

    1993-01-01

    Self-contained, waterproof, water-submersible, remote-controlled apparatus is provided for manipulating a device, such as an ultrasonic transducer for measuring crack propagation on an underwater specimen undergoing shock testing. The subject manipulator includes metal bellows for transmittal of angular motions without the use of rotating shaft seals or O-rings. Inside the manipulator, a first stepper motor controls angular movement. In the preferred embodiment, the bellows permit the first stepper motor to move an ultrasonic transducer .+-.45 degrees in a first plane and a second bellows permit a second stepper motor to move the transducer .+-.10 degrees in a second plane orthogonal to the first. In addition, an XY motor-driven table provides XY motion.

  9. Underwater manipulator

    SciTech Connect

    Schrum, P.B.; Cohen, G.H.

    1992-12-31

    This invention is comprised of a self-contained, waterproof, water-submersible, remote-controlled apparatus provided for manipulating a device, such as an ultrasonic transducer for measuring crack propagation on an underwater specimen undergoing shock testing. The subject manipulator includes metal bellows for transmittal of angular motions without the use of rotating shaft seals or O-rings. Inside the manipulator, a first stepper motor controls angular movement. In the preferred embodiment, the bellows permit the first stepper motor to move an ultrasonic transducer {plus_minus} 45 degrees in a first plane and a second bellows permit a second stepper motor to move the transducer {plus_minus} 10 degrees in a second plane orthogonal to the first. In addition, an XY motor-driven table provides XY motion.

  10. Underwater manipulator

    SciTech Connect

    Schrum, P.B.; Cohen, G.H.

    1993-04-20

    Self-contained, waterproof, water-submersible, remote-controlled apparatus is described for manipulating a device, such as an ultrasonic transducer for measuring crack propagation on an underwater specimen undergoing shock testing. The subject manipulator includes metal bellows for transmittal of angular motions without the use of rotating shaft seals or O-rings. Inside the manipulator, a first stepper motor controls angular movement. In the preferred embodiment, the bellows permit the first stepper motor to move an ultrasonic transducer [plus minus]45 degrees in a first plane and a second bellows permit a second stepper motor to move the transducer [plus minus]10 degrees in a second plane orthogonal to the first. In addition, an XY motor-driven table provides XY motion.

  11. It's a predator-eat-parasite world: how characteristics of predator, parasite and environment affect consumption.

    PubMed

    Orlofske, Sarah A; Jadin, Robert C; Johnson, Pieter T J

    2015-06-01

    Understanding the effects of predation on disease dynamics is increasingly important in light of the role ecological communities can play in host-parasite interactions. Surprisingly, however, few studies have characterized direct predation of parasites. Here we used an experimental approach to show that consumption of free-living parasite stages is highly context dependent, with significant influences of parasite size, predator size and foraging mode, as well as environmental condition. Among the four species of larval trematodes and two types of predators (fish and larval damselflies) studied here, parasites with larger infective stages (size >1,000 μm) were most vulnerable to predation by fish, while small-bodied fish and damselflies (size <10 mm) consumed the most infectious stages. Small parasite species (size approx. 500 μm) were less frequently consumed by both fish and larval damselflies. However, these results depended strongly on light availability; trials conducted in the dark led to significantly fewer parasites consumed overall, especially those with a size of <1,000 μm, emphasizing the importance of circadian shedding times of parasite free-living stages for predation risk. Intriguingly, active predation functioned to help limit fishes' infection by directly penetrating parasite species. Our results are consistent with established theory developed for predation on zooplankton that emphasizes the roles of body size, visibility and predation modes and further suggest that consumer-resource theory may provide a predictive framework for when predators should significantly influence parasite transmission. These results contribute to our understanding of transmission in natural systems, the role of predator-parasite links in food webs and the evolution of parasite morphology and behavior.

  12. It's a predator-eat-parasite world: how characteristics of predator, parasite and environment affect consumption.

    PubMed

    Orlofske, Sarah A; Jadin, Robert C; Johnson, Pieter T J

    2015-06-01

    Understanding the effects of predation on disease dynamics is increasingly important in light of the role ecological communities can play in host-parasite interactions. Surprisingly, however, few studies have characterized direct predation of parasites. Here we used an experimental approach to show that consumption of free-living parasite stages is highly context dependent, with significant influences of parasite size, predator size and foraging mode, as well as environmental condition. Among the four species of larval trematodes and two types of predators (fish and larval damselflies) studied here, parasites with larger infective stages (size >1,000 μm) were most vulnerable to predation by fish, while small-bodied fish and damselflies (size <10 mm) consumed the most infectious stages. Small parasite species (size approx. 500 μm) were less frequently consumed by both fish and larval damselflies. However, these results depended strongly on light availability; trials conducted in the dark led to significantly fewer parasites consumed overall, especially those with a size of <1,000 μm, emphasizing the importance of circadian shedding times of parasite free-living stages for predation risk. Intriguingly, active predation functioned to help limit fishes' infection by directly penetrating parasite species. Our results are consistent with established theory developed for predation on zooplankton that emphasizes the roles of body size, visibility and predation modes and further suggest that consumer-resource theory may provide a predictive framework for when predators should significantly influence parasite transmission. These results contribute to our understanding of transmission in natural systems, the role of predator-parasite links in food webs and the evolution of parasite morphology and behavior. PMID:25648648

  13. Prioritized phenotypic responses to combined predators in a marine snail.

    PubMed

    Bourdeau, Paul E

    2009-06-01

    Although many species face numerous predators in nature, the combined impact of multiple predators on the inducible defenses of prey has rarely been studied. Prey may respond with an intermediate phenotype that balances the risk from several sources or may simply respond to the most dangerous predator. I examined the separate and combined effects of the presence of shell-breaking (crabs, Cancer productus) and shell-entry (seastars, Pisaster ochraceus) predators fed conspecific snails on the defensive shell morphology and antipredator behavior of a marine snail (Nucella lamellosa). When exposed to each feeding predator separately, snails responded with a combination of morphological defenses that reflect the attack mode of the predator and a generalized behavioral response. Snails responded to feeding crabs by increasing refuge use and producing a thick, rotund shell. Snails responded to feeding seastars with increased refuge use but produced elongate shells with high spires that allowed for greater retraction of the soft tissue. Seastar-induced phenotypes reduced susceptibility to seastars relative to crab-induced phenotypes, but crab-induced phenotypes did not significantly reduce susceptibility to crabs, indicating an asymmetrical functional trade-off. When feeding predators were combined, snails produced a morphological phenotype similar to that expressed in the presence of the predator that imposed the highest mortality at the population level, suggesting that predator-induced morphology was prioritized according to predation risk. These results suggest that prioritizing conflicting defenses according to predator danger may be a common strategy for prey responding to combined predators, particularly in conjunction with generalized behavioral responses that reduce overall risk in multiple-predator environments.

  14. Disentangling the effects of predator hunting mode and habitat domain on the top-down control of insect herbivores.

    PubMed

    Woodcock, Ben A; Heard, Matthew S

    2011-03-01

    1. Polyphagous predatory invertebrates play a key role in the top-down control of insect herbivores. However, predicting predation risk for herbivores is not a simple function of predator species richness. Predation risk may be reduced or enhanced depending on the functional characteristics predator species. We predict that where predator species spatially overlap this will reduce predation risk for herbivores by allowing negative inter-specific interaction between predators to occur. Where increased predation risk occurs, we also predict that this will have a cascading effect through the food chain reducing plant growth. 2. We used a substitutive replicated block design to identify the effect of similarity and dissimilarity in predator hunting mode (e.g. 'sit and wait', 'sit and pursue', and 'active') and habitat domain (e.g. canopy or ground) on the top-down control of planthoppers in grasslands. Predators included within the mesocosms were randomly selected from a pool of 17 local species. 3. Predation risk was reduced where predators shared the same habitat domain, independent of whether they shared hunting modes. Where predators shared the same habitat domains, there was some evidence that this had a cascading negative effect on the re-growth of grass biomass. Where predator habitat domains did not overlap, there were substitutable effects on predation risk to planthoppers. Predation risk for planthoppers was affected by taxonomic identity of predator species, i.e. whether they were beetles, spiders or true bugs. 4. Our results indicated that in multi-predator systems, the risk of predation is typically reduced. Consideration of functional characteristics of individual species, in particular aspects of habitat domain and hunting mode, are crucial in predicting the effects of multi-predator systems on the top-down control of herbivores.

  15. Habitat and roe deer fawn vulnerability to red fox predation.

    PubMed

    Panzacchi, M; Linnell, J D C; Odden, M; Odden, J; Andersen, R

    2009-11-01

    1. Notwithstanding the growing amount of literature emphasizing the link between habitat, life-history traits and behaviour, few empirical studies investigated the combined effect of these parameters on individual predation risk. We investigated direct and indirect consequences of habitat composition at multiple spatial scales on predation risk by red foxes on 151 radio-monitored roe deer fawns. We hypothesized that the higher resource availability in fragmented agricultural areas increased predation risk because of: (i) shorter prey movements, which may increase predictability; (ii) larger litter size and faster growth rates, which may increase detectability in species adopting a hiding neonatal anti-predator strategy. The sharing of risky habitat among littermates was expected to promote whole-litter losses as a result of predation. 2. The landscape-scale availability of agricultural areas negatively affected pre-weaning movements, but did not influence growth rates or litter size. Predation risk was best described by the interplay between movements and fine-scale habitat fragmentation: a higher mobility increased the encounter rate and predation risk in highly fragmented home ranges, while it reduced predation risk in forest-dominated areas with clumped resources because of decreased predictability. This is one of the first demonstrations that movement patterns can be an efficient anti-predator strategy when adjusted to local conditions. 3. In accordance with previous studies documenting the existence of family effects (i.e. non-independence among siblings) in survival, littermates survived or died together more often than expected by chance. In addition, our study specifically demonstrated the occurrence of behaviourally mediated family effects in predation risk: after a fox killed one fawn the probability of a sibling being killed within a few days rose from 20% to 47%, likely because of the win-stay strategy (i.e. return to a previously rewarding site

  16. Nest predation and circulating corticosterone levels within and among species

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fontaine, Joseph J.; Arriero, Elena; Schwabl, Hubert; Martin, Thomas E.

    2011-01-01

    Variation in the risk of predation to offspring can influence the expression of reproductive strategies both within and among species. Appropriate expression of reproductive strategies in environments that differ in predation risk can have clear advantages for fitness. Although adult-predation risk appears to influence glucocorticosteroid levels, leading to changes in behavioral and life-history strategies, the influence of offspring-predation risk on adult glucocorticosteroid levels remains unclear. We compared total baseline corticosterone concentrations in Gray-headed Juncos (Junco hyemalis dorsalis) nesting on plots with and without experimentally reduced risk of nest predation. Despite differences in risk between treatments, we failed to find differences in total baseline corticosterone concentrations. When we examined corticosterone concentrations across a suite of sympatric species, however, higher risk of nest predation correlated with higher total baseline corticosterone levels. As found previously, total baseline corticosterone was negatively correlated with body condition and positively correlated with date of sampling. However, we also found that corticosterone levels increased seasonally, independent of stage of breeding. Nest predation can alter the expression of birds' reproductive strategies, but our findings suggest that total baseline corticosterone is not the physiological mechanism regulating these responses.

  17. Nest predation and circulating corticosterone levels within and among species

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fontaine, J.J.; Arriero, E.; Schwabl, H.; Martin, T.E.

    2011-01-01

    Variation in the risk of predation to offspring can influence the expression of reproductive strategies both within and among species. Appropriate expression of reproductive strategies in environments that differ in predation risk can have clear advantages for fitness. Although adult-predation risk appears to influence glucocorticosteroid levels, leading to changes in behavioral and life-history strategies, the influence of offspring-predation risk on adult glucocorticosteroid levels remains unclear. We compared total baseline corticosterone concentrations in Gray-headed Juncos (Junco hyemalis dorsalis) nesting on plots with and without experimentally reduced risk of nest predation. Despite differences in risk between treatments, we failed to find differences in total baseline corticosterone concentrations. When we examined corticosterone concentrations across a suite of sympatric species, however, higher risk of nest predation correlated with higher total baseline corticosterone levels. As found previously, total baseline corticosterone was negatively correlated with body condition and positively correlated with date of sampling. However, we also found that corticosterone levels increased seasonally, independent of stage of breeding. Nest predation can alter the expression of birds' reproductive strategies, but our findings suggest that total baseline corticosterone is not the physiological mechanism regulating these responses. ?? The Cooper Ornithological Society 2011.

  18. Optimal control of native predators

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Martin, Julien; O'Connell, Allan F.; Kendall, William L.; Runge, Michael C.; Simons, Theodore R.; Waldstein, Arielle H.; Schulte, Shiloh A.; Converse, Sarah J.; Smith, Graham W.; Pinion, Timothy; Rikard, Michael; Zipkin, Elise F.

    2010-01-01

    We apply decision theory in a structured decision-making framework to evaluate how control of raccoons (Procyon lotor), a native predator, can promote the conservation of a declining population of American Oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus) on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Our management objective was to maintain Oystercatcher productivity above a level deemed necessary for population recovery while minimizing raccoon removal. We evaluated several scenarios including no raccoon removal, and applied an adaptive optimization algorithm to account for parameter uncertainty. We show how adaptive optimization can be used to account for uncertainties about how raccoon control may affect Oystercatcher productivity. Adaptive management can reduce this type of uncertainty and is particularly well suited for addressing controversial management issues such as native predator control. The case study also offers several insights that may be relevant to the optimal control of other native predators. First, we found that stage-specific removal policies (e.g., yearling versus adult raccoon removals) were most efficient if the reproductive values among stage classes were very different. Second, we found that the optimal control of raccoons would result in higher Oystercatcher productivity than the minimum levels recommended for this species. Third, we found that removing more raccoons initially minimized the total number of removals necessary to meet long term management objectives. Finally, if for logistical reasons managers cannot sustain a removal program by removing a minimum number of raccoons annually, managers may run the risk of creating an ecological trap for Oystercatchers.

  19. Will Climate Change, Genetic and Demographic Variation or Rat Predation Pose the Greatest Risk for Persistence of an Altitudinally Distributed Island Endemic?

    PubMed Central

    Simmons, Catherine Laura; Auld, Tony D.; Hutton, Ian; Baker, William J.; Shapcott, Alison

    2012-01-01

    Species endemic to mountains on oceanic islands are subject to a number of existing threats (in particular, invasive species) along with the impacts of a rapidly changing climate. The Lord Howe Island endemic palm Hedyscepe canterburyana is restricted to two mountains above 300 m altitude. Predation by the introduced Black Rat (Rattus rattus) is known to significantly reduce seedling recruitment. We examined the variation in Hedyscepe in terms of genetic variation, morphology, reproductive output and demographic structure, across an altitudinal gradient. We used demographic data to model population persistence under climate change predictions of upward range contraction incorporating long-term climatic records for Lord Howe Island. We also accounted for alternative levels of rat predation into the model to reflect management options for control. We found that Lord Howe Island is getting warmer and drier and quantified the degree of temperature change with altitude (0.9 °C per 100 m). For H. canterburyana, differences in development rates, population structure, reproductive output and population growth rate were identified between altitudes. In contrast, genetic variation was high and did not vary with altitude. There is no evidence of an upward range contraction as was predicted and recruitment was greatest at lower altitudes. Our models predicted slow population decline in the species and that the highest altitude populations are under greatest threat of extinction. Removal of rat predation would significantly enhance future persistence of this species. PMID:24832517

  20. Simulated predator extinctions: predator identity affects survival and recruitment of oysters.

    PubMed

    O'Connor, Nessa E; Grabowski, Jonathan H; Ladwig, Laura M; Bruno, John F

    2008-02-01

    The rate of species loss is increasing at a global scale, and human-induced extinctions are biased toward predator species. We examined the effects of predator extinctions on a foundation species, the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica). We performed a factorial experiment manipulating the presence and abundance of three of the most common predatory crabs, the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus), stone crab (Menippe mercenaria), and mud crab (Panopeus herbstii) in estuaries in the eastern United States. We tested the effects of species richness and identity of predators on juvenile oyster survival, oyster recruitment, and organic matter content of sediment. We also manipulated the density of each of the predators and controlled for the loss of biomass of species by maintaining a constant mass of predators in one set of treatments and simultaneously using an additive design. This design allowed us to test the density dependence of our results and test for functional compensation by other species. The identity of predator species, but not richness, affected oyster populations. The loss of blue crabs, alone or in combination with either of the other species, affected the survival rate of juvenile oysters. Blue crabs and stone crabs both affected oyster recruitment and sediment organic matter negatively. Mud crabs at higher than ambient densities, however, could fulfill some of the functions of blue and stone crabs, suggesting a level of ecological redundancy. Importantly, the strong effects of blue crabs in all processes measured no longe