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Sample records for manipulated predation risk

  1. Helper Response to Experimentally Manipulated Predation Risk in the Cooperatively Breeding Cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher

    PubMed Central

    Heg, Dik; Taborsky, Michael

    2010-01-01

    Background We manipulated predation risk in a field experiment with the cooperatively breeding cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher by releasing no predator, a medium- or a large-sized fish predator inside underwater cages enclosing two to three natural groups. We assessed whether helpers changed their helping behaviour, and whether within-group conflict changed, depending on these treatments, testing three hypotheses: ‘pay-to-stay’ PS, ‘risk avoidance’ RA, or (future) reproductive benefits RB. We also assessed whether helper food intake was reduced under risk, because this might reduce investments in other behaviours to save energy. Methodology/Principal Findings Medium and large helpers fed less under predation risk. Despite this effect helpers invested more in territory defence, but not territory maintenance, under the risk of predation (supporting PS). Experimentally covering only the breeding shelter with sand induced more helper digging under predation risk compared to the control treatment (supporting PS). Aggression towards the introduced predator did not differ between the two predator treatments and increased with group member size and group size (supporting PS and RA). Large helpers increased their help ratio (helping effort/breeder aggression received, ‘punishment’ by the dominant pair in the group) in the predation treatments compared to the control treatment, suggesting they were more willing to PS. Medium helpers did not show such effects. Large helpers also showed a higher submission ratio (submission/ breeder aggression received) in all treatments, compared to the medium helpers (supporting PS). Conclusions/Significance We conclude that predation risk reduces helper food intake, but despite this effect, helpers were more willing to support the breeders, supporting PS. Effects of breeder punishment suggests that PS might be more important for large compared to the medium helpers. Evidence for RA was also detected. Finally, the results were

  2. 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

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

    PubMed

    Orrock, John L; Fletcher, Robert J

    2014-06-07

    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.

  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. Shoaling behaviour enhances risk of predation from multiple predator guilds in a marine fish.

    PubMed

    Ford, John R; Swearer, Stephen E

    2013-06-01

    Predicting the consequences of predator biodiversity loss on prey requires an understanding of multiple predator interactions. Predators are often assumed to have independent and additive effects on shared prey survival; however, multiple predator effects can be non-additive if predators foraging together reduce prey survival (risk enhancement) or increase prey survival through interference (risk reduction). In marine communities, juvenile reef fish experience very high mortality from two predator guilds with very different hunting modes and foraging domains-benthic and pelagic predator guilds. The few previous predator manipulation studies have found or assumed that mortality is independent and additive. We tested whether interacting predator guilds result in non-additive prey mortality and whether the detection of such effects change over time as prey are depleted. To do so, we examined the roles of benthic and pelagic predators on the survival of a juvenile shoaling zooplanktivorous temperate reef fish, Trachinops caudimaculatus, on artificial patch reefs over 2 months in Port Phillip Bay, Australia. We observed risk enhancement in the first 7 days, as shoaling behaviour placed prey between predator foraging domains with no effective refuge. At day 14 we observed additive mortality, and risk enhancement was no longer detectable. By days 28 and 62, pelagic predators were no longer significant sources of mortality and additivity was trivial. We hypothesize that declines in prey density led to reduced shoaling behaviour that brought prey more often into the domain of benthic predators, resulting in limited mortality from pelagic predators. Furthermore, pelagic predators may have spent less time patrolling reefs in response to declines in prey numbers. Our observation of the changing interaction between predators and prey has important implications for assessing the role of predation in regulating populations in complex communities.

  6. The impact of parasite manipulation and predator foraging behavior on predator-prey communities.

    PubMed

    Fenton, A; Rands, S A

    2006-11-01

    Parasites are known to directly affect their hosts at both the individual and population level. However, little is known about their more subtle, indirect effects and how these may affect population and community dynamics. In particular, trophically transmitted parasites may manipulate the behavior of intermediate hosts, fundamentally altering the pattern of contact between these individuals and their predators. Here, we develop a suite of population dynamic models to explore the impact of such behavioral modifications on the dynamics and structure of the predator-prey community. We show that, although such manipulations do not directly affect the persistence of the predator and prey populations, they can greatly alter the quantitative dynamics of the community, potentially resulting in high amplitude oscillations in abundance. We show that the precise impact of host manipulation depends greatly on the predator's functional response, which describes the predator's foraging efficiency under changing prey availabilities. Even if the parasite is rarely observed within the prey population, such manipulations extend beyond the direct impact on the intermediate host to affect the foraging success of the predator, with profound implications for the structure and stability of the predator-prey community.

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

    PubMed

    Médoc, Vincent; Beisel, Jean-Nicolas

    2009-04-01

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

    2015-03-07

    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.

  10. 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

  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. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Predation risk induces changes in nest-site selection and clutch size in the Siberian jay

    PubMed Central

    Eggers, Sönke; Griesser, Michael; Nystrand, Magdalena; Ekman, Jan

    2005-01-01

    Life-history theory predicts that an individual should reduce its reproductive efforts by laying a smaller clutch size when high risk of nest predation reduces the value of current reproduction. Evidence in favour of this ‘nest predation hypothesis’, however, is scarce and based largely on correlative analyses. Here, we manipulated perceived risk of nest predation in the Siberian jay Perisoreus infaustus using playback involving a mixture of calls by corvid nest predators in the vicinity of nest sites. In response to being exposed to this acoustic cue simulating increased risk of nest predation, the jays chose a nest site offering more protective covering and reduced clutch size. This is the first experimental demonstration of clutch size adjustment and nest site selection as a result of phenotypic plasticity in an open nesting passerine reflecting a facultative response to the perceived risk of nest predation. PMID:16608689

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

    PubMed Central

    Seiter, Michael; Schausberger, Peter

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26449645

  18. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2009-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. Foraging patterns of voles at heterogeneous avian and uniform mustelid predation risk.

    PubMed

    Eccard, Jana A; Pusenius, Jyrki; Sundell, Janne; Halle, Stefan; Ylönen, Hannu

    2008-10-01

    Temporal variation of antipredatory behavior and a uniform distribution of predation risk over refuges and foraging sites may create foraging patterns different from those anticipated from risk in heterogenous habitats. We studied the temporal variation in foraging behavior of voles exposed to uniform mustelid predation risk and heterogeneous avian predation risk of different levels induced by vegetation types in eight outdoor enclosures (0.25 ha). We manipulated mustelid predation risk with weasel presence or absence and avian predation risk by reducing or providing local cover at experimental food patches. Foraging at food patches was monitored by collecting giving-up densities at artificial food patches, overall activity was automatically monitored, and mortality of voles was monitored by live-trapping and radiotracking. Voles depleted the food to lower levels in the sheltered patches than in the exposed ones. In enclosures with higher avian predation risk caused by lower vegetation height, trays were depleted to lower levels. Unexpectedly, voles foraged in more trays and depleted trays to lower levels in the presence of weasels than in the absence. Weasels match their prey's body size and locomotive abilities and therefore increase predation risk uniformly over both foraging sites and refuge sites that can both be entered by the predator. This reduces the costs of missing opportunities other than foraging. Voles changed their foraging strategy accordingly by specializing on the experimental food patches with predictable returns and probably reduced their foraging in the matrix of natural food source with unpredictable returns and high risk to encounter the weasel. Moreover, after 1 day of weasel presence, voles shifted their main foraging activities to avoid the diurnal weasel. This behavior facilitated bird predation, probably by nocturnal owls, and more voles were killed by birds than by weasels. Food patch use of voles in weasel enclosures increased with

  2. 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.

  3. The risk of predation favors cooperation among breeding prey.

    PubMed

    Krams, Indrikis; Krama, Tatjana; Berzins, Arnis; Rantala, Markus J

    2010-05-01

    Empirical studies have shown that animals often focus on short-term benefits under conditions of predation risk, which reduces the likelihood that they will cooperate with others. However, some theoretical studies predict that animals in adverse conditions should not avoid cooperation with their neighbors since it may decrease individual risks and increase long-term benefits of reciprocal help. We experimentally tested these two alternatives to find out whether increased predation risk enhances or diminishes the occurrence of cooperation in mobbing, a common anti-predator behavior, among breeding pied flycatchers, Ficedula hypoleuca. Our results show that birds attended mobs initiated by their neighbors 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. This study demonstrates a positive impact of predation risk on cooperation in breeding songbirds, which might help to explain the emergence and evolution of cooperation.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Detecting small environmental differences: risk-response curves for predator-induced behavior and morphology.

    PubMed

    Schoeppner, Nancy M; Relyea, Rick A

    2008-01-01

    Most organisms possess traits that are sensitive to changes in the environment (i.e., plastic traits) which results in the expression of environmentally induced polymorphisms. While most phenotypically plastic traits have traditionally been treated as threshold switches between induced and uninduced states, there is growing evidence that many traits can respond in a continuous fashion. In this experiment we exposed larval anurans (wood frog tadpoles, Rana sylvatica) to an increasing gradient of predation risk to determine how organisms respond to small environmental changes. We manipulated predation risk in two ways: by altering the amount of prey consumed by a constant number of predators (Dytiscus sp.) and by altering the number of predators that consume a constant amount of prey. We then quantified the expression of predator-induced behavior, morphology, and mass to determine the level of risk that induced each trait, the level of risk that induced the maximal phenotypic response for each trait, whether the different traits exhibited a plateauing response, and whether increasing risk via increasing predator number or via increasing prey consumption induced similar phenotypic changes. We found that all of the traits exhibited fine-tuned, graded responses and most of them exhibited a plateauing response with increased predation risk, suggesting either a limit to plasticity or the reflection of high costs of the defensive phenotype. For many traits, a large proportion of the maximum induction occurred at low levels of risk, suggesting that the chemical cues of predation are effective at extremely low concentrations. In contrast to earlier work, we found that behavioral and morphological responses to increased predator number were simply a response to increased total prey consumption. These results have important implications for models of plasticity evolution, models of optimal phenotypic design, expectations for how organisms respond to fine-grained changes (i

  7. Alcohol impairs predation risk response and communication in zebrafish.

    PubMed

    Oliveira, Thiago Acosta; Koakoski, Gessi; Kreutz, Luiz Carlos; Ferreira, Daiane; da Rosa, João Gabriel Santos; de Abreu, Murilo Sander; Giacomini, Ana Cristina Vendrametto; Oliveira, Ricardo Pimentel; Fagundes, Michele; Piato, Angelo Luis; Barreto, Rodrigo Egydio; Barcellos, Leonardo José Gil

    2013-01-01

    The effects of ethanol exposure on Danio rerio have been studied from the perspectives of developmental biology and behavior. However, little is known about the effects of ethanol on the prey-predator relationship and chemical communication of predation risk. Here, we showed that visual contact with a predator triggers stress axis activation in zebrafish. We also observed a typical stress response in zebrafish receiving water from these conspecifics, indicating that these fish chemically communicate predation risk. Our work is the first to demonstrate how alcohol effects this prey-predator interaction. We showed for the first time that alcohol exposure completely blocks stress axis activation in both fish seeing the predator and in fish that come in indirect contact with a predator by receiving water from these conspecifics. Together with other research results and with the translational relevance of this fish species, our data points to zebrafish as a promising animal model to study human alcoholism.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Hemmi, Jan M; Pfeil, Andreas

    2010-05-01

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

  11. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Eccard, Jana A.; Liesenjohann, Thilo

    2014-01-01

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Predator-driven elemental cycling: the impact of predation and risk effects on ecosystem stoichiometry.

    PubMed

    Leroux, Shawn J; Schmitz, Oswald J

    2015-11-01

    Empirical evidence is beginning to show that predators can be important drivers of elemental cycling within ecosystems by propagating indirect effects that determine the distribution of elements among trophic levels as well as determine the chemical content of organic matter that becomes decomposed by microbes. These indirect effects can be propagated by predator consumptive effects on prey, nonconsumptive (risk) effects, or a combination of both. Currently, there is insufficient theory to predict how such predator effects should propagate throughout ecosystems. We present here a theoretical framework for exploring predator effects on ecosystem elemental cycling to encourage further empirical quantification. We use a classic ecosystem trophic compartment model as a basis for our analyses but infuse principles from ecological stoichiometry into the analyses of elemental cycling. Using a combined analytical-numerical approach, we compare how predators affect cycling through consumptive effects in which they control the flux of nutrients up trophic chains; through risk effects in which they change the homeostatic elemental balance of herbivore prey which accordingly changes the element ratio herbivores select from plants; and through a combination of both effects. Our analysis reveals that predators can have quantitatively important effects on elemental cycling, relative to a model formalism that excludes predator effects. Furthermore, the feedbacks due to predator nonconsumptive effects often have the quantitatively strongest impact on whole ecosystem elemental stocks, production and efficiency rates, and recycling fluxes by changing the stoichiometric balance of all trophic levels. Our modeling framework predictably shows how bottom-up control by microbes and top-down control by predators on ecosystems become interdependent when top predator effects permeate ecosystems.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Density mediates grasshopper performance in response to temperature manipulation and spider predation in tallgrass prairie.

    PubMed

    Laws, A N; Joern, A

    2017-04-01

    Species interactions are often context-dependent, where outcomes require an understanding of influences among multiple biotic and abiotic factors. However, it remains unclear how abiotic factors such as temperature combine with important biotic factors such as density-dependent food limitation and predation to influence species interactions. Using a native grassland - grasshopper - wolf spider model food chain in tallgrass prairie, we conducted a manipulative field experiment to examine how predator-prey interactions respond to manipulations of temperature, grasshopper density, and food chain length. We find that grasshopper performance responses to temperature and predator treatments were density dependent. At high densities, grasshopper survival decreased with increased temperature when no spiders were present. When spiders were present, grasshopper survival was reduced, and this effect was strongest in the cooled treatment. In contrast, grasshopper survival did not vary significantly with spider presence or among temperature treatments at low grasshopper densities. Our results indicate that context-dependent species interactions are common and highlight the importance of understanding how and when key biotic and abiotic factors combine to influence species interactions.

  3. Predation risk influences adaptive morphological variation in fish populations.

    PubMed

    Eklöv, Peter; Svanbäck, Richard

    2006-03-01

    Predators can cause a shift in both density and frequency of a prey phenotype that may lead to phenotypic divergence through natural selection. What is less investigated is that predators have a variety of indirect effects on prey that could potentially have large evolutionary responses. We conducted a pond experiment to test whether differences in predation risk in different habitats caused shifts in behavior of prey that, in turn, would affect their morphology. We also tested whether the experimental data could explain the morphological variation of perch in the natural environment. In the experiment, predators caused the prey fish to shift to the habitat with the lower predation risk. The prey specialized on habitat-specific resources, and there was a strong correlation between diet of the prey fish and morphological variation, suggesting that resource specialization ultimately affected the morphology. The lack of differences in competition and mortality suggest that the morphological variation among prey was induced by differences in predation risk among habitats. The field study demonstrated that there are differences in growth related to morphology of perch in two different habitats. Thus, a trade-off between foraging and predator avoidance could be responsible for adaptive morphological variation of young perch.

  4. 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.

  5. Predator avoidance, microhabitat shift, and risk-sensitive foraging in larval dragonflies.

    PubMed

    Pierce, C L

    1988-10-01

    Dragonfly larvae (Odonata: Anisoptera) are often abundant in shallow freshwater habitats and frequently co-occur with predatory fish, but there is evidence that they are underutilized as prey. This suggests that species which successfully coexist with fish may exhibit behaviors that minimize their risk of predation. I conducted field and laboratory experiments to determine whether: 1) dragonfly larvae actively avoid fish, 2) microhabitat use and foraging success of larvae are sensitive to predation risk, and 3) vulnerability of larvae is correlated with microhabitat use. I experimentally manipulated the presence of adult bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus) in defaunated patches of littoral substrate in a small pond to test whether colonizing dragonfly larvae would avoid patches containing fish. The two dominant anisopteran species, Tetragoneuria cynosura and Ladona deplanata (Odonata: Libellulidae), both strongly avoided colonizing patches where adult bluegills were present. Laboratory experiments examined the effects of diel period and bluegills on microhabitat use and foraging success, using Tetragoneuria, Ladona and confamilial Sympetrum semicictum, found in a nearby fishless pond. Tetragoneuria and Ladona generally occupied microhabitats offering cover, whereas Sympetrum usually occupied exposed locations. Bluegills induced increased use of cover in all three species, and use of cover also tended to be higher during the day than at night. Bluegills depressed foraging in Tetragoneuria and to a lesser extent in Ladona, but foraging in Sympetrum appeared unaffected. Other laboratory experiments indicated that Sympetrum were generally more vulnerable than Tetragoneuria or Ladona to bluegill predation, and that vulnerability was positively correlated with use of exposed microhabitats. Both fixed (generally low use of exposed microhabitats, diel microhabitat shifts) and reactive (predator avoidance, predator-sensitive microhabitat shifts) behavioral responses appear to

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Does avian conspicuous colouration increase or reduce predation risk?

    PubMed

    Ruiz-Rodríguez, M; Avilés, J M; Cuervo, J J; Parejo, D; Ruano, F; Zamora-Muñoz, C; Sergio, F; López-Jiménez, L; Tanferna, A; Martín-Vivaldi, M

    2013-09-01

    Animals often announce their unprofitability to predators through conspicuous coloured signals. Here we tested whether the apparently conspicuous colour designs of the four European Coraciiformes and Upupiformes species may have evolved as aposematic signals, or whether instead they imply a cost in terms of predation risk. Because previous studies suggested that these species are unpalatable, we hypothesized that predators could avoid targeting them based on their colours. An experiment was performed where two artificial models of each bird species were exposed simultaneously to raptor predators, one painted so as to resemble the real colour design of these birds, and the other one painted using cryptic colours. Additionally, we used field data on the black kite's diet to compare the selection of these four species to that of other avian prey. Conspicuous models were attacked in equal or higher proportions than their cryptic counterparts, and the attack rate on the four species increased with their respective degree of contrast against natural backgrounds. The analysis of the predator's diet revealed that the two least attacked species were negatively selected in nature despite their abundance. Both conspicuous and cryptic models of one of the studied species (the hoopoe) received fewer attacks than cryptic models of the other three species, suggesting that predators may avoid this species for characteristics other than colour. Globally, our results suggest that the colour of coraciiforms and upupiforms does not function as an aposematic signal that advises predators of their unprofitability, but also that conspicuous colours may increase predation risk in some species, supporting thus the handicap hypothesis.

  13. Predation risk, stoichiometric plasticity and ecosystem elemental cycling.

    PubMed

    Leroux, Shawn J; Hawlena, Dror; Schmitz, Oswald J

    2012-10-22

    It is widely held that herbivore growth and production is limited by dietary nitrogen (N) that in turn constrains ecosystem elemental cycling. Yet, emerging evidence suggests that this conception of limitation may be incomplete, because chronic predation risk heightens herbivore metabolic rate and shifts demand from N-rich proteins to soluble carbohydrate-carbon (C). Because soluble C can be limiting, predation risk may cause ecosystem elemental cycling rates and stoichiometric balance to depend on herbivore physiological plasticity. We report on a stoichiometrically explicit ecosystem model that investigates this problem. The model tracks N, and soluble and recalcitrant C through ecosystem compartments. We evaluate how soluble plant C influences C and N stocks and flows in the presence and absence of predation risk. Without risk, herbivores are limited by N and respire excess C so that plant-soluble C has small effects only on elemental stocks and flows. With predation risk, herbivores are limited by soluble C and release excess N, so plant-soluble C critically influences ecosystem elemental stocks flows. Our results emphasize that expressing ecosystem stoichiometric balance using customary C:N ratios that do not distinguish between soluble and recalcitrant C may not adequately describe limitations on elemental cycling.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Discrete call types referring to predation risk enhance the efficiency of the meerkat sentinel system.

    PubMed

    Rauber, R; Manser, M B

    2017-03-17

    Sentinel behaviour, a form of coordinated vigilance, occurs in a limited range of species, mostly in cooperative breeders. In some species sentinels confirm their presence vocally by giving a single sentinel call type, whereby the rate and subtle acoustic changes provide graded information on the variation of perceived predation risk. In contrast, meerkat (Suricata suricatta) sentinels produce six different sentinel call types. Here we show that manipulation of perception of danger has different effects on the likelihood of emitting these different call types, and that these call types affect foraging individuals differently. Increasing the perceived predation risk by playing back alarm calls decreased the production rate of the common short note calls and increased the production rate of the rare long calls. Playbacks of short note calls increased foraging behaviour and decreased vigilance in the rest of the group, whereas the opposite was observed when playing long calls. This suggests that the common call types act as all-clear signals, while the rare call types have a warning function. Therefore, meerkats increase the efficiency of their sentinel system by producing several discrete call types that represent changes in predation risk and lead to adjustments of the group's vigilance behaviour.

  2. Discrete call types referring to predation risk enhance the efficiency of the meerkat sentinel system

    PubMed Central

    Rauber, R.; Manser, M. B.

    2017-01-01

    Sentinel behaviour, a form of coordinated vigilance, occurs in a limited range of species, mostly in cooperative breeders. In some species sentinels confirm their presence vocally by giving a single sentinel call type, whereby the rate and subtle acoustic changes provide graded information on the variation of perceived predation risk. In contrast, meerkat (Suricata suricatta) sentinels produce six different sentinel call types. Here we show that manipulation of perception of danger has different effects on the likelihood of emitting these different call types, and that these call types affect foraging individuals differently. Increasing the perceived predation risk by playing back alarm calls decreased the production rate of the common short note calls and increased the production rate of the rare long calls. Playbacks of short note calls increased foraging behaviour and decreased vigilance in the rest of the group, whereas the opposite was observed when playing long calls. This suggests that the common call types act as all-clear signals, while the rare call types have a warning function. Therefore, meerkats increase the efficiency of their sentinel system by producing several discrete call types that represent changes in predation risk and lead to adjustments of the group’s vigilance behaviour. PMID:28303964

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. The scale-dependent impact of wolf predation risk on resource selection by three sympatric ungulates.

    PubMed

    Kittle, Andrew M; Fryxell, John M; Desy, Glenn E; Hamr, Joe

    2008-08-01

    Resource selection is a fundamental ecological process impacting population dynamics and ecosystem structure. Understanding which factors drive selection is vital for effective species- and landscape-level management. We used resource selection probability functions (RSPFs) to study the influence of two forms of wolf (Canis lupus) predation risk, snow conditions and habitat variables on white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), elk (Cervus elaphus) and moose (Alces alces) resource selection in central Ontario's mixed forest French River-Burwash ecosystem. Direct predation risk was defined as the frequency of a predator's occurrence across the landscape and indirect predation risk as landscape features associated with a higher risk of predation. Models were developed for two winters, each at two spatial scales, using a combination of GIS-derived and ground-measured data. Ungulate presence was determined from snow track transects in 64 16- and 128 1-km(2) resource units, and direct predation risk from GPS radio collar locations of four adjacent wolf packs. Ungulates did not select resources based on the avoidance of areas of direct predation risk at any scale, and instead exhibited selection patterns that tradeoff predation risk minimization with forage and/or mobility requirements. Elk did not avoid indirect predation risk, while both deer and moose exhibited inconsistent responses to this risk. Direct predation risk was more important to models than indirect predation risk but overall, abiotic topographical factors were most influential. These results indicate that wolf predation risk does not limit ungulate habitat use at the scales investigated and that responses to spatial sources of predation risk are complex, incorporating a variety of anti-predator behaviours. Moose resource selection was influenced less by snow conditions than cover type, particularly selection for dense forest, whereas deer showed the opposite pattern. Temporal and spatial scale

  8. 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

  9. 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…

  10. Cooperation under predation risk: a data-based ESS analysis

    PubMed Central

    Parker, G. A.; Milinski, M.

    1997-01-01

    Two fish that jointly approach a predator in order to inspect it share the deadly risk of capture depending on the distance between them. Models are developed that seek ESS inspection distances of both single prey and pairs, based on experimental data of the risk that prey (sticklebacks) incur when they approach a predator (pike) to varying distances. Our analysis suggests that an optimal inspection distance can exist for a single fish, and for two equal fish behaving entirely cooperatively so as to maximize the fitness of the pair. Two equal fish inspecting cooperatively should inspect at an equal distance from the predator. The optimal distance is much closer to the predator for cooperative pairs than for single inspectors. However, optimal inspection for two equal fish behaving cooperatively operates across a rather narrow band of conditions relating to the benefits of cooperation. Evolutionarily stable inspection can also exist for two equal fish behaving non-cooperatively such that each acts to make a best reply (in terms of its personal fitness) to its opponent's strategy. Non-cooperative pairs should also inspect at equal distance from the pike. Unlike the 'single fish' and 'cooperative' optima, which are unique inspection distances, there exists a range of ESS inspection distances. If either fish chooses to move to any point in this zone, the best reply of its opponent is to match it (move exactly alongside). Unilateral forward movement in the 'match zone' may not be possible without some cooperation, but if the pair can 'agree' to move forward synchronously, maintaining equal distance, inspection will occur at the nearest point in this zone to the predator. This 'near threshold' is an ESS and is closer to the predator than the single fish optimum: pairs behaving almost selfishly can thus attain greater benefits from inspection by the protection gained from Hamilton's dilution effect. That pairs should inspect more closely than single fish conforms with

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Anti-predator behavioral variation among Physa acuta in response to temporally fluctuating predation risk by Procambarus.

    PubMed

    Kain, Morgan P; McCoy, Michael W

    2016-10-28

    Research in behavioral ecology routinely quantifies individual variation in behavior using transitions between discrete environments, for example prey moving from a no predator to predator treatment. This research often ignores behavioral variation in response to temporal fluctuations in environmental conditions around an unchanging mean environment. In this study we evaluate the effects of temporal fluctuations in predation risk (predator cue concentration of Procambarus spp.), without the confounding effects of a changing mean, on among-individual variation in anti-predator behavior in freshwater snails (Physa acuta). We also evaluate how the interaction between environmental and individual variation affects snail survival and reproduction by exposing snails to lethal predators following the behavioral assays. Our analyses revealed a trend towards higher among-individual variation in mean behavior when snails were exposed to intermediate levels of environmental variation compared to highly variable or constant environments. However, because of large uncertainty in estimates of among-individual variation, differences among treatments were indistinguishable from noise for most, but not all behaviors. In the lethal predator trials, snail survival and time to mortality was the lowest in the high variation environment. Also, as environmental variation increased snail egg production decreased and snails laid more of their eggs underneath a provided shelter.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    McIntyre, Peter B; Baldwin, Sandra; Flecker, Alexander S

    2004-09-01

    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. Wild-caught 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

    Mommer, Brett C; Bell, Alison M

    2013-10-02

    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.

  20. 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

  1. Trade-offs between predation risk and forage differ between migrant strategies in a migratory ungulate.

    PubMed

    Hebblewhite, Mark; Merrill, Evelyn H

    2009-12-01

    Trade-offs between predation risk and forage fundamentally drive resource selection by animals. Among migratory ungulates, trade-offs can occur at large spatial scales through migration, which allows an "escape" from predation, but trade-offs can also occur at finer spatial scales. Previous authors suggest that ungulates will avoid predation risk at the largest scale, although few studies have examined multi-scale trade-offs to test for the relative benefits of risk avoidance across scales. Building on previously developed spatial models of forage and wolf predation risk, we tested for trade-offs at the broad landscape scale and at a finer, within-home-range scale for migratory and non-migratory resident elk (Cervus elaphus) during summer in the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park (BNP) and adjacent Alberta, Canada. Migration reduced exposure to wolf predation risk by 70% relative to residents at the landscape scale; at the fine scale, migrants used areas that were, on average, 6% higher in forage digestibility. In contrast, by forgoing migration, resident elk were exposed to higher predation risk, but they reduced predation risk at fine scales to only 15% higher than migrants by using areas close to human activity, which wolves avoided. Thus, residents paid for trying to avoid predation risk with lower forage quality. Residents may have been able to compensate, however, by using areas of abundant forage close to human activity where they may have been able to forage more selectively while avoiding predation risk. Human activity effectively decoupled the positive correlation between high forage quality and wolf predation, providing an effective alternate strategy for residents, similar to recent findings in other systems. Although ungulates appear capable of balancing risk and forage at different spatial scales, risk avoidance at large landscape scales may be more effective in the absence of human-caused refugia from predation.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Can variation in risk of nest predation explain altitudinal migration in tropical birds?

    PubMed

    Boyle, W Alice

    2008-03-01

    Migration is among the best studied of animal behaviors, yet few empirical studies have tested hypotheses explaining the ultimate causes of these cyclical annual movements. Fretwell's (1980) hypothesis predicts that if nest predation explains why many tropical birds migrate uphill to breed, then predation risk must be negatively associated with elevation. Data from 385 artificial nests spanning 2,740 m of elevation on the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica show an overall decline in predation with increasing elevation. However, nest predation risk was highest at intermediate elevations (500-650 m), not at lowest elevations. The proportion of nests depredated by different types of predators differed among elevations. These results imply that over half of the altitudinal migrant bird species in this region migrate to safer breeding areas than their non-breeding areas, suggesting that variation in nest predation risk could be an important benefit of uphill migrations of many species.

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

    Ghalambor, Cameron K.; Peluc, Susana I.; 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. PMID:23760165

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. The Impact of Detoxification Costs and Predation Risk on Foraging: Implications for Mimicry Dynamics.

    PubMed

    Halpin, Christina G; Skelhorn, John; Rowe, Candy; Ruxton, Graeme D; Higginson, Andrew D

    2017-01-01

    Prey often evolve defences to deter predators, such as noxious chemicals including toxins. Toxic species often advertise their defence to potential predators by distinctive sensory signals. Predators learn to associate toxicity with the signals of these so-called aposematic prey, and may avoid them in future. In turn, this selects for mildly toxic prey to mimic the appearance of more toxic prey. Empirical evidence shows that mimicry could be either beneficial ('Mullerian') or detrimental ('quasi-Batesian') to the highly toxic prey, but the factors determining which are unknown. Here, we use state-dependent models to explore how tri-trophic interactions could influence the evolution of prey defences. We consider how predation risk affects predators' optimal foraging strategies on aposematic prey, and explore the resultant impact this has on mimicry dynamics between unequally defended species. In addition, we also investigate how the potential energetic cost of metabolising a toxin can alter the benefits to eating toxic prey and thus impact on predators' foraging decisions. Our model predicts that both how predators perceive their own predation risk, and the cost of detoxification, can have significant, sometimes counterintuitive, effects on the foraging decisions of predators. For example, in some conditions predators should: (i) avoid prey they know to be undefended, (ii) eat more mildly toxic prey as detoxification costs increase, (iii) increase their intake of highly toxic prey as the abundance of undefended prey increases. These effects mean that the relationship between a mimic and its model can qualitatively depend on the density of alternative prey and the cost of metabolising toxins. In addition, these effects are mediated by the predators' own predation risk, which demonstrates that, higher trophic levels than previously considered can have fundamental impacts on interactions among aposematic prey species.

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Phenotypically plastic responses of green frog embryos to conflicting predation risk.

    PubMed

    Ireland, D H; Wirsing, A J; Murray, D L

    2007-05-01

    Predators have been shown to alter the timing of switch points between life history stages, but few studies have addressed switch point plasticity in prey exposed simultaneously to conflicting predation pressure. We tested hatching responses of green frog (Rana clamitans) embryos subject to perceived predation risk from chemical cues released by two stage-specific predators, predicting that these predators would elicit: (1) directional hatching responses when presented independently, and (2) intermediate phenotypic responses when presented simultaneously. R. clamitans embryos in outdoor exclosures were exposed to cues from an egg predator (freshwater leeches; Nephelopsis obscura), a larval predator (dragonfly nymphs, Aeschna canadensis), and both predators in a 2 x 2 factorial experiment, and changes in hatchling size, hatchling developmental stage, and hatching time were compared to those for control embryos. Leeches alone induced embryos to hatch at a smaller size and an earlier developmental stage than controls, while dragonfly nymphs elicited a delay in egg hatching time that was associated with larger size and later developmental stage at hatching. Embryos failed to respond to simultaneous exposure to both predators, implying that responses to each occurred concurrently and were therefore dampened. Our results indicate that prey under threat from conflicting predators may manifest intermediate defensive phenotypes. Such intermediate responses may result in elevated rates of prey mortality with possible consequences at the population level.

  20. Maternal exposure to predation risk decreases offspring antipredator behaviour and survival in threespined stickleback

    PubMed Central

    McGhee, Katie E.; Pintor, Lauren M.; Suhr, Elissa L.; Bell, Alison M.

    2012-01-01

    SUMMARY 1. Adaptive maternal programming occurs when mothers alter their offspring's phenotype in response to environmental information such that it improves offspring fitness. When a mother's environment is predictive of the conditions her offspring are likely to encounter, such transgenerational plasticity enables offspring to be better-prepared for this particular environment. However, maternal effects can also have deleterious effects on fitness. 2. Here, we test whether female threespined stickleback fish exposed to predation risk adaptively prepare their offspring to cope with predators. We either exposed gravid females to a model predator or not, and compared their offspring's antipredator behaviour and survival when alone with a live predator. Importantly, we measured offspring behaviour and survival in the face of the same type of predator that threatened their mothers (Northern pike). 3. We did not find evidence for adaptive maternal programming; offspring of predator-exposed mothers were less likely to orient to the predator than offspring from unexposed mothers. In our predation assay, orienting to the predator was an effective antipredator behaviour and those that oriented, survived for longer. 4. In addition, offspring from predator-exposed mothers were caught more quickly by the predator on average than offspring from unexposed mothers. The difference in antipredator behaviour between the maternal predator-exposure treatments offers a potential behavioural mechanism contributing to the difference in survival between maternal treatments. 5. However, the strength and direction of the maternal effect on offspring survival depended on offspring size. Specifically, the larger the offspring from predator-exposed mothers, the more vulnerable they were to predation compared to offspring from unexposed mothers. 6. Our results suggest that the predation risk perceived by mothers can have long-term behavioural and fitness consequences for offspring in response

  1. Effect of diffusion and spatially varying predation risk on the dynamics and equilibrium density of a predator-prey system.

    PubMed

    Cai-Lin, Xu; Zi-Zhen, Li

    2002-11-07

    Starting from natural planktonic systems, we present a new mechanism involving spatial heterogeneity, and develop a new spatial structure model of planktonic predation systems. Firstly, the effect of diffusion on the dynamics of the system is investigated. We find that diffusion of only prey or both prey and predator between different patches with different predation risk may stabilize the dynamics, depending on the flow rate. Only a medium flow rate can lead to the stability of the system. Too large a rate can cause the system to approach the non-spatial limit case of a well-mixed system. Too large a rate can cause the system to approach the non-spatial limit case as a well-mixed system, which is characterized by its strongly oscillatory dynamics. When only prey diffuse, the smaller the parameter f (the proportion of the patchy volume with larger predation risk to the total volume), the more stable the system. If both populations can diffuse, however, only medium and very small f values may stabilize the system. Also, the response of the spatially averaged equilibrium densities of the system to the increasing of the flow rate is examined. With increasing flow rate, the spatial-averaged equilibrium density of prey decreases, while that of predator depends on which species can diffuse. For the case of prey diffusion only, it first remains unchanged and then slightly decreases, while it increases for the case of combinations as the flow rate increases. Our results are, qualitatively, determined by the spatially heterogeneous mechanism that we propose, and further regulated by top-down forces. Of practical importance, the results reported here indicate that which species diffuse plays a key role in the ways in which diffusion influences the dynamics and the spatial-average equilibrium densities of the system responses to the flow rate's increasing.

  2. 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.

  3. Anthropogenic noise disrupts use of vocal information about predation risk.

    PubMed

    Kern, Julie M; Radford, Andrew N

    2016-11-01

    Anthropogenic noise is rapidly becoming a universal environmental feature. While the impacts of such additional noise on avian sexual signals are well documented, our understanding of its effect in other terrestrial taxa, on other vocalisations, and on receivers is more limited. Little is known, for example, about the influence of anthropogenic noise on responses to vocalisations relating to predation risk, despite the potential fitness consequences. We use playback experiments to investigate the impact of traffic noise on the responses of foraging dwarf mongooses (Helogale parvula) to surveillance calls produced by sentinels, individuals scanning for danger from a raised position whose presence usually results in reduced vigilance by foragers. Foragers exhibited a lessened response to surveillance calls in traffic-noise compared to ambient-sound playback, increasing personal vigilance. A second playback experiment, using noise playbacks without surveillance calls, suggests that the increased vigilance could arise in part from the direct influence of additional noise as there was an increase in response to traffic-noise playback alone. Acoustic masking could also play a role. Foragers maintained the ability to distinguish between sentinels of different dominance class, increasing personal vigilance when presented with subordinate surveillance calls compared to calls of a dominant groupmate in both noise treatments, suggesting complete masking was not occurring. However, an acoustic-transmission experiment showed that while surveillance calls were potentially audible during approaching traffic noise, they were probably inaudible during peak traffic intensity noise. While recent work has demonstrated detrimental effects of anthropogenic noise on defensive responses to actual predatory attacks, which are relatively rare, our results provide evidence of a potentially more widespread influence since animals should constantly assess background risk to optimise the

  4. 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.

  5. Temporal learning of predation risk by embryonic amphibians.

    PubMed

    Ferrari, Maud C O; Manek, Aditya K; Chivers, Douglas P

    2010-06-23

    For prey species that rely on learning to recognize their predators, natural selection should favour individuals able to learn as early as possible. The earliest point at which individuals can gather information about the identity of their potential predators is during the embryonic stage. Indeed, recent experiments have demonstrated that amphibians can learn to recognize predators prior to hatching. Here, we conditioned woodfrog embryos to recognize predatory salamander cues either in the morning or in the evening, and subsequently exposed the two-week-old tadpoles to salamander cues either in the morning or in the evening, and recorded the intensity of their antipredator behaviour. The data indicate that amphibians learn to recognize potential predators while still in the egg, and also learn the temporal component of this information, which they use later in life, to adjust the intensity of their antipredator responses throughout the day.

  6. Predation risk influences feeding rates but competition structures space use for a common Pacific parrotfish.

    PubMed

    Davis, Kathryn; Carlson, P M; Bradley, D; Warner, R R; Caselle, J E

    2017-03-24

    In terrestrial systems it is well known that the spatial patterns of grazing by herbivores can influence the structure of primary producer communities. On coral reefs, the consequences of varied space use by herbivores on benthic community structure are not well understood, nor are the relative influences of bottom-up (resource abundance and quality), horizontal (competition), and top-down (predation risk) factors in affecting spatial foraging behaviors of mobile herbivorous fishes. In the current study we quantified space use and feeding rates of the parrotfish, Chlorurus spilurus, across a strong gradient of food resources and predator and competitor abundance across two islands with drastically different fisheries management schemes. We found evidence that while feeding rates of this species are affected by direct interference competition and chronic predation risk, space use appears to be primarily related to exploitative competition with the surrounding herbivore community. We found no evidence that predation risk influences diurnal foraging space use in this small bodied parrotfish species. Additionally, we found the influence of chronic predation risk on feeding rates of this species to be less dramatic than the results of recent studies that used model predators to measure acute behavioral responses of other species of herbivorous fishes. Our results indicate that the non-consumptive effects of predators on the foraging behaviors of coral reef herbivores may be less dramatic than previously thought.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-07

    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.

  14. Costly carotenoids: a trade-off between predation and infection risk?

    PubMed

    van Der Veen, I T

    2005-07-01

    Carotenoid reserves in copepods seem costly in terms of predation risk because they make individuals conspicuous. However, carotenoids also seem to play an important role in immune defence as free radical scavengers. To test whether predation risk influences carotenoid levels and whether changes in carotenoid levels are related to changes in immune defence, I examined individual changes in large carotenoid and other lipid droplets upon exposure to predation risk and subsequent exposure to parasites in the copepod Macrocyclops albidus. Copepods reduced carotenoid reserves upon exposure to predators, through which they potentially avoided the costs of being conspicuous under predation risk. Thus, the size of carotenoid reserves is a plastic trait. Such a decrease in carotenoid reserves may also have a negative impact on the copepods' immune system as individuals that decreased their reserves suffered higher parasite prevalence upon exposure to the cestode Schistocephalus solidus. These results suggest that carotenoid reserves may be individually optimized to trade-off each individual's unique costs (predation risk) and benefits (immune defence) of having these reserves.

  15. Safe caves and dangerous forests? Predation risk may contribute to salamander colonization of subterranean habitats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salvidio, Sebastiano; Palumbi, Giulia; Romano, Antonio; Costa, Andrea

    2017-04-01

    Recent studies suggest that many organisms actively colonize the subterranean environment to avoid climatic stress, exploit new ecological opportunities and reduce competition and predation. Terrestrial salamanders are known to colonize the more stable subterranean habitats mainly to escape external climatic extremes, while the role of predation avoidance remains untested. To better understand the importance of predation, we used clay models of the cave salamander Speleomantes strinatii to compare the predation occurring in woodland and subterranean habitats. Models were positioned in three forests and in three caves in NW Italy. One-hundred eighty-four models were retrieved from the field and 59 (32%) were attacked by predators. Models were attacked on their head more often than expected by chance and, therefore, were perceived by predators as real prey items. In the woodlands, clay models showed a four-time higher probability of being attacked in comparison to caves, suggesting a different level of potential predation risk in these surface habitats. These findings are one of the first experimental evidences that, in terrestrial ecosystems, predation avoidance may contribute to the salamander underground colonization process.

  16. The Impact of Detoxification Costs and Predation Risk on Foraging: Implications for Mimicry Dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Skelhorn, John; Rowe, Candy; Ruxton, Graeme D.; Higginson, Andrew D.

    2017-01-01

    Prey often evolve defences to deter predators, such as noxious chemicals including toxins. Toxic species often advertise their defence to potential predators by distinctive sensory signals. Predators learn to associate toxicity with the signals of these so-called aposematic prey, and may avoid them in future. In turn, this selects for mildly toxic prey to mimic the appearance of more toxic prey. Empirical evidence shows that mimicry could be either beneficial (‘Mullerian’) or detrimental (‘quasi-Batesian’) to the highly toxic prey, but the factors determining which are unknown. Here, we use state-dependent models to explore how tri-trophic interactions could influence the evolution of prey defences. We consider how predation risk affects predators’ optimal foraging strategies on aposematic prey, and explore the resultant impact this has on mimicry dynamics between unequally defended species. In addition, we also investigate how the potential energetic cost of metabolising a toxin can alter the benefits to eating toxic prey and thus impact on predators’ foraging decisions. Our model predicts that both how predators perceive their own predation risk, and the cost of detoxification, can have significant, sometimes counterintuitive, effects on the foraging decisions of predators. For example, in some conditions predators should: (i) avoid prey they know to be undefended, (ii) eat more mildly toxic prey as detoxification costs increase, (iii) increase their intake of highly toxic prey as the abundance of undefended prey increases. These effects mean that the relationship between a mimic and its model can qualitatively depend on the density of alternative prey and the cost of metabolising toxins. In addition, these effects are mediated by the predators’ own predation risk, which demonstrates that, higher trophic levels than previously considered can have fundamental impacts on interactions among aposematic prey species. PMID:28045959

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Mobility of moose-comparing the effects of wolf predation risk, reproductive status, and seasonality.

    PubMed

    Wikenros, Camilla; Balogh, Gyöngyvér; Sand, Håkan; Nicholson, Kerry L; Månsson, Johan

    2016-12-01

    In a predator-prey system, prey species may adapt to the presence of predators with behavioral changes such as increased vigilance, shifting habitats, or changes in their mobility. In North America, moose (Alces alces) have shown behavioral adaptations to presence of predators, but such antipredator behavioral responses have not yet been found in Scandinavian moose in response to the recolonization of wolves (Canis lupus). We studied travel speed and direction of movement of GPS-collared female moose (n = 26) in relation to spatiotemporal differences in wolf predation risk, reproductive status, and time of year. Travel speed was highest during the calving (May-July) and postcalving (August-October) seasons and was lower for females with calves than females without calves. Similarly, time of year and reproductive status affected the direction of movement, as more concentrated movement was observed for females with calves at heel, during the calving season. We did not find support for that wolf predation risk was an important factor affecting moose travel speed or direction of movement. Likely causal factors for the weak effect of wolf predation risk on mobility of moose include high moose-to-wolf ratio and intensive hunter harvest of the moose population during the past century.

  3. 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

  4. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCormick, M. I.; Manassa, R.

    2008-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  7. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-09-01

    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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Sexual Selection and Predator Avoidance in the Acoustic Lepidoptera: Discriminating Females Take Fewer Risks

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2003-07-01

    UNCLASSIFIED Defense Technical Information Center Compilation Part Notice ADP022934 TITLE: Sexual Selection and Predator Avoidance in the Acoustic...technical report. The following component part numbers comprise the compilation report: ADP022883 thru ADP023022 UNCLASSIFIED Sexual Selection and...a fundamental expectation of sexual selection theory that mating activities incur risk. Normally, these risks are considered from the perspective of

  12. Developmental responses to predation risk in morphologically defended mayflies.

    PubMed

    Dahl, Jonas; Peckarsky, Barbara L

    2003-10-01

    Densities and species composition of predators could affect morphological defences, larval development and the timing of emergence of their prey. To address this issue we studied the morphology and life history of an ephemerellid mayfly, Ephemerella invaria, from two streams in a deciduous forested drainage basin in central New York. Both streams contained predatory fish, but densities and species composition of fish differed. A field survey provided evidence that Ephemerella inhabiting a stream with > or =10 fish species and high relative densities of fish emerged several weeks earlier and at smaller sizes than Ephemerella inhabiting a nearby tributary with approximately 2 fish species and low relative densities of fish. However, the two populations of mayflies showed no differences in defensive morphology or growth rates. In laboratory rearing experiments, we exposed Ephemerella larvae from these two locations to fish chemical cues or control water (no fish) over 2 months to test whether differences in life histories could be attributed to fish. Fish cues induced faster larval development, but also smaller size of mature Ephemerella individuals from both high and low predator locations. Although shorter development times in more dangerous environments could increase larval survival, smaller size of females results in a fecundity cost associated with this life history shift. Consistent with the field studies, laboratory rearing experiments revealed no effects of fish cues on Ephemerella's morphological defences. These data suggest that variation in the density or species composition of predators may favour the evolution of developmental plasticity to reduce mortality in the larval environment.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Field assessment of the predation risk-food availability trade-off in crab megalopae settlement.

    PubMed

    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.

  16. Adult frogs are sensitive to the predation risks of olfactory communication.

    PubMed

    Hamer, Rowena; Lemckert, Francis L; Banks, Peter B

    2011-06-23

    Olfaction is a common sensory mode of communication in much of the Vertebrata, although its use by adult frogs remains poorly studied. Being part of an open signalling system, odour cues can be exploited by 'eavesdropping' predators that hunt by smell, making association with odour a high-risk behaviour for prey. Here, we show that adult great barred frogs (Mixophes fasciolatus) are highly attracted to odour cues of conspecifics and those of sympatric striped marsh frogs (Limnodynastes peronii). This attraction decreased significantly with the addition of odours of a scent-hunting predator, the red-bellied black snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus), indicating that frogs perceived predation risks from associating with frog odours. Male frogs, however, maintained some attraction to unfamiliar conspecific scents even with predator odours present, suggesting that they perceived benefits of odour communication despite the risk. Our results indicate that adult frogs can identify species and individuals from their odours and assess the associated predation risk, revealing a complexity in olfactory communication previously unknown in adult anurans.

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

    Touchon, Justin C; Worley, Julie L

    2015-06-07

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-12-01

    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

  20. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. Sexually violent predator risk assessments with the violence risk appraisal guide-revised: A shaky practice.

    PubMed

    Abbott, Brian R

    2017-04-08

    Twenty-two jurisdictions in the United States permit the involuntary civil confinement of sexual offenders upon expiration of their criminal sentence and, if committed, these individuals face possible lifetime commitment. One of the legal requirements that psychologists must address in sexually violent predator evaluations is the likelihood that an individual will engage in dangerous sexual behavior and consideration of the probabilities for sexual recidivism contained in actuarial experience tables best address this inquiry. Clinicians find it increasingly difficult to affirm the likelihood threshold in the face of decreasing base rates and score-wise probability estimates for sexual recidivism reported in contemporary actuarial experience tables. The Violence Risk Appraisal Guide-Revised (VRAG-R) has been promoted to assess sexually violent predators because it has been presented as a more accurate predictor of sexual recidivism and the results more likely satisfy the legal standard of sexual dangerousness. This article conducts an in-depth analysis of the predictive and psychometric properties of the VRAG-R that are most relevant to the fit of the VRAG-R when addressing the sexual dangerousness standard proscribed by SVP laws. Recommendations for future research are offered to improve the fit of the VRAG-R to the legal inquiry of sexual dangerousness and implications for using the current iteration of the VRAG-R in forensic practice are discussed.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Perceived risk of predation affects reproductive life-history traits in Gambusia holbrooki, but not in Heterandria formosa.

    PubMed

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  14. 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

  15. Predation risk modifies behaviour by shaping the response of identified brain neurons.

    PubMed

    Magani, Fiorella; Luppi, Tomas; Nuñez, Jesus; Tomsic, Daniel

    2016-04-15

    Interpopulation comparisons in species that show behavioural variations associated with particular ecological disparities offer good opportunities for assessing how environmental factors may foster specific functional adaptations in the brain. Yet, studies on the neural substrate that can account for interpopulation behavioural adaptations are scarce. Predation is one of the strongest driving forces for behavioural evolvability and, consequently, for shaping structural and functional brain adaptations. We analysed the escape response of crabs ITALIC! Neohelice granulatafrom two isolated populations exposed to different risks of avian predation. Individuals from the high-risk area proved to be more reactive to visual danger stimuli (VDS) than those from an area where predators are rare. Control experiments indicate that the response difference was specific for impending visual threats. Subsequently, we analysed the response to VDS of a group of giant brain neurons that are thought to play a main role in the visually guided escape response of the crab. Neurons from animals of the population with the stronger escape response were more responsive to VDS than neurons from animals of the less reactive population. Our results suggest a robust linkage between the pressure imposed by the predation risk, the response of identified neurons and the behavioural outcome.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-02-01

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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Reliability of risk assessment measures used in sexually violent predator proceedings.

    PubMed

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

    2012-12-01

    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 program proceedings. Rater agreement was highest for the Static--99 (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC₁] = .78) and lowest for the PCL-R (ICC₁ = .60; MnSOST-R ICC₁ = .74), although all instruments demonstrated lower field reliability than that reported in their test manuals. Findings raise concerns about the reliability of risk assessment tools that are used to inform judgments of risk in high-stake sexually violent predator proceedings. Implications for future research and suggestions for improving evaluator training to increase accuracy when informing legal decision making are discussed.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Behavioural responses of prey fishes to habitat complexity and predation risk induce bias in minnow trap catches.

    PubMed

    Dupuch, A; Paradis, Y; Magnan, P

    2011-08-01

    The effects of predation risk and habitat complexity on the efficiency of minnow traps to catch northern redbelly dace Chrosomus eos in laboratory experiments were investigated. Trap efficiency significantly decreased in the presence of vegetation and predators. These results suggest that the various antipredator behaviours used by prey fishes can affect trap efficiency.

  5. 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

    2015-07-07

    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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Assessment of predation risk through conspecific alarm odors by spiny lobsters

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Strong “alarm odors” emanating from lethally injured conspecifics may indicate an imminent risk of predation to spiny lobsters. In laboratory trials,1 strong conspecific alarm odors elicited avoidance in Panulirus argus, a highly gregarious species that displays collective defense behavior, but not in Panulirus guttatus, a species that tends to aggregate when reproductive activity is high (spring) but not when it is low (late summer) and does not display collective defensive behavior. To reduce predation risk, however, lobsters may autotomize limbs, thus sustaining nonlethal injuries. I tested the response of these lobsters to scents emanating from intact, lethally-injured and non-lethally injured conspecifics. In P. argus, these scents elicited, respectively, attraction, avoidance and a random response, suggesting that, in P. argus, avoidance of conspecific alarm odors depends on their strength. In contrast, P. guttatus lobsters responded at random to scents of lethally injured conspecifics and showed a similar response to scents of intact and non-lethally injured conspecifics in the spring (attraction) and in the summer (random), reflecting the more cryptic defensive behavior of this species. Therefore, both species use conspecific alarm odors for risk-assessment, but each responds to these cues in the most effective way to reduce its risk of predation. PMID:19721871

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2001-12-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Risk of predation reflects variation in the reproductive strategy of a dominant forage fish in mangrove tidal tributaries.

    PubMed

    Krebs, Justin M; Bell, Susan S

    2012-03-01

    The role of predators in shaping prey life histories is a central theme in the ecological literature. However, the association between degree of predation risk and prey reproductive strategies has not been clearly established. We examined reproduction in the sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna) from small tidal tributaries in a subtropical estuary. Our results revealed a gradient along which females produced many, small offspring at one extreme (mean = 42 offspring, 17 mg each) and fewer, larger offspring at the other (24 offspring, 29 mg each). Reproductive allotment ranged from 14.9-21.5% of maternal biomass. Based on our observation of divergent reproductive strategies, we experimentally tested the null hypothesis of no difference in predation risk among tributaries using a novel quantitative approach to estimate predation. We predicted greater risk in tributaries where mollies produced many, small offspring. Tethering confirmed increasing risk from 16.2 ± 5.3% SE to 54.7 ± 3.6% fish lost h(-1) across sites in agreement with observed variation in reproduction. Predation was unexpectedly higher than predicted at one of the four sites suggesting that additional factors (e.g., food) had influenced reproduction there. Our results provide insight into the well-studied concept of predator-mediated variation in prey reproduction by quantitatively demonstrating differential risk for mollies exhibiting divergent reproductive strategies. While the observed range of variation in reproductive traits was consistent with previous studies reporting strong predator effects, higher than expected predation in one case may suggest that the prey response does not follow a continuous trajectory of incremental change with increasing predation risk, but may be better defined as a threshold beyond which a significant shift in reproductive strategy occurs.

  16. Are males more scared of predators? Differential change in metabolic rate between males and females under predation risk.

    PubMed

    Lagos, Patricio A; Herberstein, Marie E

    2017-02-03

    The non-consumptive effects of predation contribute to reduce preys' fitness. In this way, predation imposes a cost to animals, not only through direct consumption, but also as an energetic cost. One way used to estimate this cost in the past has been to measure the production of CO2 to estimate the change in metabolic rate because of predation. It has been proposed that this change is mediated by the insect stress neurohormone octopamine. Here we study the change in metabolic rate of the black field cricket (Teleogryllus commodus), and how the production of CO2 varies when a chemical cue from a sympatric predator is added. We hypothesised that after the addition of a predatory cue, the metabolic rate will increase. Moreover, since the pressure of predation is stronger on females, we propose that females will have a greater increase in the CO2 produce as consequence of the added cues from the predator. Our results confirmed our first hypothesis, showing an almost two-fold increase in CO2 when the predatory cue was added. However, males were the ones that showed a greater increase, in opposition to our second hypothesis. We put these results in the context of the escape theory and, in particular, the "landscape of fear" hypothesis. Also, because the timing between the increase of metabolic rate we measure here and the release of octopamine reported in previous studies do not match, we reject the idea that octopamine causes the increase in metabolism.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Predator identity and time of day interact to shape the risk-reward trade-off for herbivorous coral reef fishes.

    PubMed

    Catano, Laura B; Barton, Mark B; Boswell, Kevin M; Burkepile, Deron E

    2017-03-01

    Non-consumptive effects (NCEs) of predators occur as prey alters their habitat use and foraging decisions to avoid predation. Although NCEs are recognized as being important across disparate ecosystems, the factors influencing their strength and importance remain poorly understood. Ecological context, such as time of day, predator identity, and prey condition, may modify how prey species perceive and respond to risk, thereby altering NCEs. To investigate how predator identity affects foraging of herbivorous coral reef fishes, we simulated predation risk using fiberglass models of two predator species (grouper Mycteroperca bonaci and barracuda Sphyraena barracuda) with different hunting modes. We quantified how predation risk alters herbivory rates across space (distance from predator) and time (dawn, mid-day, and dusk) to examine how prey reconciles the conflicting demands of avoiding predation vs. foraging. When we averaged the effect of both predators across space and time, they suppressed herbivory similarly. Yet, they altered feeding differently depending on time of day and distance from the model. Although feeding increased strongly with increasing distance from the predators particularly during dawn, we found that the barracuda model suppressed herbivory more strongly than the grouper model during mid-day. We suggest that prey hunger level and differences in predator hunting modes could influence these patterns. Understanding how context mediates NCEs provides insight into the emergent effects of predator-prey interactions on food webs. These insights have broad implications for understanding how anthropogenic alterations to predator abundances can affect the spatial and temporal dynamics of important ecosystem processes.

  2. Insect development under predation risk variable temperature, and variable food quality.

    PubMed

    Logan, J David; Wolesensky, William; Joern, Anthony

    2007-01-01

    We model the development of an individual insect, a grasshopper, through its nymphal period as a function of a trade-off between prey vigilance and nutrient intake in a changing environment. Both temperature and food quality may be variable. We scale up to the population level using natural mortality and a predation risk that is mass, vigilance, and temperature dependent. Simulations reveal the sensitivity of both survivorship and development time to risk and nutrient intake, including food quality and temperature variations. The model quantifies the crucial role of temperature in trophic interactions and development, which is an important issue in assessing the effects of global climate change on complex environmental interactions.

  3. 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.

  4. Re-examining safety in numbers: interactions between risk dilution and collective detection depend upon predator targeting behaviour

    PubMed Central

    Bednekoff, P. A.; Lima, S. L.

    1998-01-01

    Many studies document that individuals visually scan for predators less frequently when in the safety of larger groups. This widely replicated effect has generally been explained in terms of distinct predator detection and risk-dilution effects. We show that a strict distinction between detection and dilution disappears when information about attacks is imperfectly shared (as it is in reality). Furthermore, dilution and detection effects change depending on when during an attack the predator targets a particular prey individual for pursuit. Realistic detection and dilution effects probably interact with each other and also with the targeting behaviour of predators. Instead of considering detection and dilution effects on vigilance, it may be more profitable to consider each prey's probability of being targeted during an attack and its probability of escaping if attacked. This perspective emphasizes that a full understanding of safety in numbers requires an understanding of predator targeting strategies.

  5. 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

  6. Towards a predictive framework for predator risk effects: the interaction of landscape features and prey escape tactics.

    PubMed

    Heithaus, Michael R; Wirsing, Aaron J; Burkholder, Derek; Thomson, Jordan; Dill, Lawrence M

    2009-05-01

    1. Risk effects of predators can profoundly affect community dynamics, but the nature of these effects is context dependent. 2. Although context dependence has hindered the development of a general framework for predicting the nature and extent of risk effects, recent studies suggest that such a framework is attainable if the factors that shape anti-predator behaviour, and its effectiveness, in natural communities are well understood. 3. One of these factors, the interaction of prey escape tactics and landscape features, has been largely overlooked. 4. We tested whether this interaction gives rise to interspecific variation in habitat-use patterns of sympatric large marine vertebrates at risk of tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier Peron and LeSueur, 1822) predation. Specifically, we tested the a priori hypothesis that pied cormorants (Phalacrocorax varius Gmelin, 1789) would modify their use of shallow seagrass habitats in a manner opposite to that of previously studied dolphins (Tursiops aduncus Ehrenberg, 1833), dugongs (Dugong dugon Müller, 1776), and green turtles (Chelonia mydas Linnaeus, 1758) because, unlike these species, the effectiveness of cormorant escape behaviour does not vary spatially. 5. As predicted, cormorants used interior and edge portions of banks proportional to the abundance of their potential prey when sharks were absent but shifted to interior portions of banks to minimize encounters with tiger sharks as predation risk increased. Other shark prey, however, shift to edge microhabitats when shark densities increase to take advantage of easier escape despite higher encounter rates with sharks. 6. The interaction of landscape features and escape ability likely is important in diverse communities. 7. When escape probabilities are high in habitats with high predator density, risk effects of predators can reverse the direction of commonly assumed indirect effects of top predators. 8. The interaction between landscape features and prey escape tactics

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. Microhabitat preference and vertical use of space by patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) in relation to predation risk and habitat structure.

    PubMed

    Enstam, Karin L; Isbell, Lynne A

    2004-01-01

    Habitat structure can be important in determining habitat preference of animals because it is often closely linked to factors that affect survival and reproduction, such as food availability and predation risk. Here we examine the ways in which microhabitat structure and predation risk affect the habitat preference of wild patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas). Patas monkeys in Kenya are typically restricted to Acacia drepanolobium habitat, but within our study group's home range, there are two distinct microhabitats, one with taller trees ('tall microhabitat') and one with apparently perennially shorter trees ('short microhabitat'). Examination of ranging behavior indicates that the patas monkeys preferred the tall microhabitat. In the tall microhabitat, focal animals climbed into trees that were significantly taller than average, indicating that they preferred tall trees. Female patas monkeys spent more time scanning from tall trees than from short trees and detected predators only from taller than average trees, based on alarm call data. Their use of tall trees may have decreased their predation risk by increasing their ability to detect predators. We found no evidence of increased food availability or reduced predator presence in the tall microhabitat that could contribute to the monkeys' preference for the tall microhabitat.

  14. Effects of size on predation risk, behavioural response to fish, and cost of reduced feeding in larval Ischnura verticalis (Coenagrionidae: Odonata).

    PubMed

    Dixon, S M; Baker, R L

    1988-07-01

    We used laboratory studies to examine the role of predation risk and cost of anti-predator behaviour in determining the behavioural response of several larval instars of Ischnura verticalis to a fish predator (Lepomis gibbosus). Smaller larvae were less susceptible to fish predation than larger larvae. Smaller larvae depressed movement to a greater degree in the presence of fish than did larger larvae; large larvae were generally less active than small larvae regardless of fish presence. Reduced feeding resulted in smaller larvae suffering more in terms of reduced growth than did large larvae. In general, our results tend to support the hypothesis that individuals that suffer high costs of anti-predator behaviour but little risk of predation may only exhibit anti-predator behaviours in the presence of predators, whereas individuals with a higher risk of predation and a lower cost of anti-predator behaviour may evolve anti-predator mechanisms that are in effect even in the absence of predators.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. The relative importance of predation risk and water temperature in maintaining Bergmann's rule in a marine ectotherm.

    PubMed

    Manyak-Davis, Anna; Bell, Tina M; Sotka, Erik E

    2013-09-01

    Bergmann's rule-an increase in body size with latitude-correlates with latitudinal declines in ambient temperature and predation risk, but relatively few studies simultaneously explore the relative importance of these factors. Along temperate Atlantic shorelines, the isopod Idotea balthica from high latitudes are 53% longer on average than isopods from low latitudes. When reared at 6°-24°C, juveniles increased growth and development rates with temperature. Because the increase in growth rate with temperature outstripped increases in development rate, female size at maturity increased with temperature. This thermal sensitivity of growth cannot account for the latitudinal pattern in body size. Within temperature treatments, females from low latitudes reached sexual maturity at younger ages and at a smaller size than did females from higher latitudes. This shift in life-history strategy is predicted by latitudinal declines in predation pressure, which we tested using field-tethering experiments. Overall, isopods at low latitudes had a 44% greater mortality risk from daytime predators relative to isopods at higher latitudes. We conclude that a latitudinal gradient in predation risk, not temperature, is principally responsible for Bergmann's rule in I. balthica. Increases in body size during future warming of oceans may be constrained by local patterns of predation risk.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Personality and the response to predation risk: effects of information quantity and quality.

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

    Within aquatic ecosystems, chemosensory cues provide valuable public information regarding the form and degree of risk, allowing prey to make informed behavioural decisions. Such cues, however, may vary in both relative concentration detected (i.e. 'quantity') and reliability of the information available (i.e. 'quality'), leading to varying response patterns. Moreover, prey species are also known to exhibit consistent behavioural tactics towards managing risk (i.e. personality), possibly shaping their use of public information. Here, we present two experiments examining the potential interacting effects of personality and the quantity (Experiment 1) or quality (Experiment 2) of public information on the short-term predator avoidance responses of wild-caught Trinidadian guppies under semi-natural conditions. Our first experiment demonstrated that personality shaped responses to a high concentration of alarm cues (high risk), with shyer guppies exhibiting stronger antipredator responses than bolder guppies. When exposed to either low risk or stream water controls, personality had no effect on the intensity of response. Our second experiment demonstrated that personality again shaped the response to high concentrations of alarm cues (a known risk) but not to a novel chemosensory cue (tilapia odour). When exposed to the unknown novel cue, guppies exhibited a relatively high intensity antipredator response, regardless of personality. Combined, our results suggest that individual risk-taking tactics shape the use of public information in a context-dependent fashion.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  9. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Lönnstedt, Oona M.; McCormick, Mark I.

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Lönnstedt, Oona M; McCormick, Mark I

    2013-01-01

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

  12. Inbreeding depression in adaptive plasticity under predation risk in a freshwater snail.

    PubMed

    Auld, Josh R; Relyea, Rick A

    2010-04-23

    While much attention has been paid to the effects of inbreeding on fitness, this has mostly come from a genetic perspective. Consequently, the interaction between inbreeding and the environment is less well understood. To understand the effects of inbreeding in natural populations where environmental conditions are variable, we need to examine not only how the effects of inbreeding change among environments but also how inbreeding may affect the ability to respond to environmental conditions (i.e. phenotypic plasticity). We reared selfed and outcrossed hermaphroditic snails (Physa acuta) in the presence and absence of chemical cues from predatory crayfish and quantified expression of an inducible defence, an adaptively plastic response to predation risk. Overall, inbred snails exhibited reduced defences, but more importantly, inbreeding reduced the expression of predator-induced adaptive plasticity. Inbreeding depression in defensive morphology was 26 per cent and inbreeding depression in the plasticity of this trait was 48 per cent. Inbreeding depression in adaptive plasticity may be important to understanding the effects of inbreeding in nature.

  13. 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.

  14. Identifying Risk: Concurrent Overlap of the Antarctic Krill Fishery with Krill-Dependent Predators in the Scotia Sea.

    PubMed

    Hinke, Jefferson T; Cossio, Anthony M; Goebel, Michael E; Reiss, Christian S; Trivelpiece, Wayne Z; Watters, George M

    2017-01-01

    Mitigating direct and indirect interactions between marine predators and fisheries is a motivating factor for ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM), especially where predators and fisheries compete for a shared resource. One difficulty in advancing EBFM is parameterizing clear functional responses of predators to indices of prey availability. Alternative characterizations of fishery-predator interactions may therefore benefit the implementation of EBFM. Telemetry data identify foraging areas used by predators and, therefore, represent critical information to mitigate potential competition between predators and fisheries. We analyzed six years (2009-2014) of telemetry data collected at Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island and Admiralty Bay, King George Island, Antarctica, on three species of Pygoscelid penguins and female Antarctic fur seals. In this region, all four species are primarily dependent on Antarctic krill. The tracking data demonstrate local movements near breeding colonies during the austral summer and dispersal from breeding colonies during the winter. We then assessed overlap between predators and the Antarctic krill fishery on a suite of spatiotemporal scales to examine how different data aggregations affect the extent and location of overlap. Concurrent overlap was observed on all spatiotemporal scales considered throughout the Antarctic Peninsula and South Orkney Islands region, including near tagging locations and in distant areas where recent fishing activity has concentrated. Overlap occurred at depths where mean krill densities were relatively high. Our results demonstrate that direct overlap of krill-dependent predators with the krill fishery on small spatiotemporal scales is relatively common throughout the Antarctic Peninsula region. As the krill fishery continues to develop and efforts to implement ecosystem-based management mature, indices of overlap may provide a useful metric for indicating where the risks of fishing are highest. A

  15. Identifying Risk: Concurrent Overlap of the Antarctic Krill Fishery with Krill-Dependent Predators in the Scotia Sea

    PubMed Central

    Hinke, Jefferson T.

    2017-01-01

    Mitigating direct and indirect interactions between marine predators and fisheries is a motivating factor for ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM), especially where predators and fisheries compete for a shared resource. One difficulty in advancing EBFM is parameterizing clear functional responses of predators to indices of prey availability. Alternative characterizations of fishery-predator interactions may therefore benefit the implementation of EBFM. Telemetry data identify foraging areas used by predators and, therefore, represent critical information to mitigate potential competition between predators and fisheries. We analyzed six years (2009–2014) of telemetry data collected at Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island and Admiralty Bay, King George Island, Antarctica, on three species of Pygoscelid penguins and female Antarctic fur seals. In this region, all four species are primarily dependent on Antarctic krill. The tracking data demonstrate local movements near breeding colonies during the austral summer and dispersal from breeding colonies during the winter. We then assessed overlap between predators and the Antarctic krill fishery on a suite of spatiotemporal scales to examine how different data aggregations affect the extent and location of overlap. Concurrent overlap was observed on all spatiotemporal scales considered throughout the Antarctic Peninsula and South Orkney Islands region, including near tagging locations and in distant areas where recent fishing activity has concentrated. Overlap occurred at depths where mean krill densities were relatively high. Our results demonstrate that direct overlap of krill-dependent predators with the krill fishery on small spatiotemporal scales is relatively common throughout the Antarctic Peninsula region. As the krill fishery continues to develop and efforts to implement ecosystem-based management mature, indices of overlap may provide a useful metric for indicating where the risks of fishing are highest. A

  16. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

  18. Refuge or predation risk? Alternate ways to perceive hiker disturbance based on maternal state of female caribou.

    PubMed

    Lesmerises, Frédéric; Johnson, Chris J; St-Laurent, Martin-Hugues

    2017-02-01

    Human presence in natural environments is often a source of stress that is perceived by large ungulates as an increased risk of predation. Alternatively, disturbance induced by hikers creates a relatively predator-free space that may serve as a refuge. We measured the behavioral responses of female caribou to disturbance associated with the presence of hikers during summer in the Gaspésie National Park. We used those data to determine whether caribou responded negatively to human activity (i.e., the predation risk hypothesis) or whether human activity resulted in a decrease in the magnitude of perceived risk (i.e., the refuge hypothesis). Female caribou with a calf spent nearly half of their time feeding, regardless of the presence of a trail or the number of hikers. They also decreased their vigilance near trails when the number of hikers increased. Conversely, lone females fed less frequently and almost doubled the time invested in vigilance under the same circumstances. However, both groups of females moved away from trails during the day, especially in the presence of hikers. We demonstrated that risk avoidance was specific to the maternal state of the individual. Lactating females accommodated the presence of hikers to increase time spent foraging and nutritional intake, providing support for the refuge hypothesis. Alternatively, lone females with lower energetic requirements and no maternal investment in a vulnerable calf appeared less tolerant to risk, consistent with the predation risk hypothesis. Synthesis and applications: Hikers influenced the vigilance-feeding trade-off in caribou, underlining the importance of appropriate management of linear structures and human activities, especially across the critical habitat of endangered species. Even if some individuals seemed to benefit from human presence, this behavioral adaptation was not sufficient to reduce annual calf mortality associated with predation.

  19. An Indirect Cue of Predation Risk Counteracts Female Preference for Conspecifics in a Naturally Hybridizing Fish Xiphophorus birchmanni

    PubMed Central

    Willis, Pamela M.; Rosenthal, Gil G.; Ryan, Michael J.

    2012-01-01

    Mate choice is context dependent, but the importance of current context to interspecific mating and hybridization is largely unexplored. An important influence on mate choice is predation risk. We investigated how variation in an indirect cue of predation risk, distance to shelter, influences mate choice in the swordtail Xiphophorus birchmanni, a species which sometimes hybridizes with X. malinche in the wild. We conducted mate choice experiments to determine whether females attend to the distance to shelter and whether this cue of predation risk can counteract female preference for conspecifics. Females were sensitive to shelter distance independent of male presence. When conspecific and heterospecific X. malinche males were in equally risky habitats (i.e., equally distant from shelter), females associated primarily with conspecifics, suggesting an innate preference for conspecifics. However, when heterospecific males were in less risky habitat (i.e., closer to shelter) than conspecific males, females no longer exhibited a preference, suggesting that females calibrate their mate choices in response to predation risk. Our findings illustrate the potential for hybridization to arise, not necessarily through reproductive “mistakes”, but as one of many potential outcomes of a context-dependent mate choice strategy. PMID:22529936

  20. Metamorphosing reef fishes avoid predator scent when choosing a home.

    PubMed

    Vail, Alexander L; McCormick, Mark I

    2011-12-23

    Most organisms possess anti-predator adaptations to reduce their risk of being consumed, but little is known of the adaptations prey employ during vulnerable life-history transitions when predation pressures can be extreme. We demonstrate the use of a transition-specific anti-predator adaptation by coral reef fishes as they metamorphose from pelagic larvae to benthic juveniles, when over half are consumed within 48 h. Our field experiment shows that naturally settling damselfish use olfactory, and most likely innate, predator recognition to avoid settling to habitat patches manipulated to emit predator odour. Settlement to patches emitting predator odour was on average 24-43% less than to control patches. Evidence strongly suggests that this avoidance of sedentary and patchily distributed predators by nocturnal settlers will gain them a survival advantage, but also lead to non-lethal predator effects: the costs of exhibiting anti-predator adaptations. Transition-specific anti-predator adaptations, such as demonstrated here, may be widespread among organisms with complex life cycles and play an important role in prey population dynamics.

  1. Cheek pouch use in relation to interspecific competition and predator risk for three guenon monkeys (Cercopithecus spp.).

    PubMed

    Buzzard, Paul J

    2006-10-01

    Forest guenons (Cercopithecus spp.) are often found in polyspecific associations that may decrease predator risk while increasing interspecific competition for food. Cheek pouch use may mitigate interspecific competition and predator risk by reducing the time spent in areas of high competition/predator risk. I investigated these ideas in three forest guenons: Campbell's monkey (Cercopithecus campbelli), spot-nosed monkey (C. petaurista), and Diana monkey (C. diana). I present 13 months of scan sample data from Taï Forest, Côte d'Ivoire, including 3,675, 3,330, and 5,689 records of cheek pouch distention, to quantify cheek pouch use, for Campbell's, spot-nosed, and Diana monkeys, respectively. Cheek pouches are often used to hold fruit, so I first predicted that the most frugivorous species, Diana monkeys, would have the most cheek pouch distension. Spot-nosed monkeys ate the least amount of fruit over the study period and had the least distended cheek pouches, suggesting the importance of frugivory in relation to cheek pouch distension for this species. This was not a sufficient explanation for Campbell's monkeys; Campbell's ate fruit less than Diana monkeys, but had more distended cheek pouches, suggesting that cheek pouch use was not simply a reflection of high frugivory. From the interspecific competition hypothesis, I predicted that Campbell's monkeys would have more distended cheek pouches than Diana and spot-nosed monkeys, and more distended cheek pouches when associated with Diana because Campbell's monkeys have the highest potential for interspecific competition with dominant Diana monkeys. From the predator risk hypothesis, I predicted that Campbell's would have more distended cheek pouches when not associated with highly vigilant Diana monkeys. Campbell's monkeys had the most distended cheek pouches overall, but had more distended cheek pouches when not in association with Diana, suggesting the greater importance of predator risk rather than

  2. 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

  3. Effects of Paternal Predation Risk and Rearing Environment on Maternal Investment and Development of Defensive Responses in the Offspring

    PubMed Central

    Bauer, Jessica

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Detecting past experiences with predators of a potential mate informs a female about prevailing ecological threats, in addition to stress-induced phenotypes that may be disseminated to offspring. We examined whether prior exposure of a male rat to a predator (cat) odor influences the attraction of a female toward a male, subsequent mother–infant interactions and the development of defensive (emotional) responses in the offspring. Females displayed less interest in males that had experienced predator odor. Mothers that reared young in larger, seminaturalistic housing provided more licking and grooming and active arched back-nursing behavior toward their offspring compared with dams housed in standard housing, although some effects interacted with paternal experience. Paternal predation risk and maternal rearing environment revealed sex-dependent differences in offspring wean weight, juvenile social interactions, and anxiety-like behavior in adolescence. Additionally, paternal predator experience and maternal housing independently affected variations in crf gene promoter acetylation and crf gene expression in response to an acute stressor in offspring. Our results show for the first time in mammals that variation among males in their predator encounters may contribute to stable behavioral variation among females in preference for mates and maternal care, even when the females are not directly exposed to predator threat. Furthermore, when offspring were exposed to the same threat experienced by the father, hypothalamic crf gene regulation was influenced by paternal olfactory experience and early housing. These results, together with our previous findings, suggest that paternal stress exposure and maternal rearing conditions can influence maternal behavior and the development of defensive responses in offspring. PMID:27896313

  4. Maternal steroids in egg yolk as a pathway to translate predation risk to offspring: experiments with great tits.

    PubMed

    Coslovsky, Michael; Groothuis, Ton; de Vries, Bonnie; Richner, Heinz

    2012-04-01

    Exposure of mothers to risk of predation can induce phenotypic changes in offspring as shown in several species. We previously found that cross-fostered great tit (Parus major) chicks of females exposed to increased predation risk were smaller and lighter, but had faster wing growth than control cross-fostered chicks, possibly improving predator-escaping abilities. Here we examined the possible role of maternal steroids deposited in eggs as an underlying mechanism. We collected eggs from female great tits under either experimentally increased predation risk (PRED) or control treatments (CON) and analyzed the concentration of testosterone, androstenedione, and progesterone in the yolks. PRED eggs contained lower levels of testosterone than CON eggs, but levels of androstenedione and progesterone did not differ. The smaller size and mass of chicks found in the previous study may thus be explained by the lower testosterone concentrations, since yolk testosterone is known to boost growth and development. Alternatively, testosterone may act as a modulator of differential investment into morphological traits, rather than a simple growth enhancer, explaining lower body mass in conjunction with the accelerated wing growth. This could possibly occur concurrently with other hormones such as corticosterone.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Effects of season, water and predation risk on patch use by birds on the African savannah.

    PubMed

    Molokwu, Mary Ngozi; Nilsson, Jan-Ake; Ottosson, Ulf; Olsson, Ola

    2010-11-01

    Birds from semi-arid regions may suffer dehydration during hot, dry seasons with low food availability. During this period, both energetic costs and water requirements for thermoregulation increase, limiting the scope of activity. For granivorous birds feeding on dry seeds, this is a major challenge and availability of water may affect the value of food. Water availability could (1) increase the value of a food patch when the surrounding environment is poor, due to an increase in the marginal value of energy, and (2) increase the value of the entire environment to the forager when environmental quality increases, due to an increase in the marginal value of time. We aimed to test this by measuring giving-up densities (GUDs, remaining food densities after foraging) of granivorous birds in the presence or absence of filled water pots, at different seasons differing in background food and water availability. We predicted that GUDs will increase with water provision during the dry season with moderate food, but in the early wet season with low food and water availability, GUDs will decrease with water provision. Later in the wet season, our experimental addition of water should have no effect. During seasons with low water availability but differing in food availability, results confirmed our predictions. However, when water became more abundant as the wet season progressed, birds still foraged more intensely during days with added water. In all seasons, birds fed more intensely in cover than in exposed areas, suggesting that predation risk rather than heat influenced microhabitat selection.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-04-07

    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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. Impact of cannibalism on predator-prey dynamics: size-structured interactions and apparent mutualism.

    PubMed

    Rudolf, Volker H W

    2008-06-01

    Direct and indirect interactions between two prey species can strongly alter the dynamics of predator-prey systems. Most predators are cannibalistic, and as a consequence, even systems with only one predator and one prey include two prey types: conspecifics and heterospecifics. The effects of the complex direct and indirect interactions that emerge in such cannibalistic systems are still poorly understood. This study examined how the indirect interaction between conspecific and heterospecific prey affects cannibalism and predation rates and how the direct interactions between both species indirectly alter the effect of the cannibalistic predator. I tested for these effects using larvae of the stream salamanders Eurycea cirrigera (prey) and Pseudotriton ruber (cannibalistic predator) by manipulating the relative densities of the conspecific and heterospecific prey in the presence and absence of the predator in experimental streams. The rates of cannibalism and heterospecific predation were proportional to the respective densities and negatively correlated, indicating a positive indirect interaction between conspecific and heterospecific prey, similar to "apparent mutualism." Direct interactions between prey species did not alter the effect of the predator. Although both types of prey showed a similar 30% reduction in night activity and switch in microhabitat use in response to the presence of the predator, cannibalism rates were three times higher than heterospecific predation rates irrespective of the relative densities of the two types of prey. Cumulative predation risks differed even more due to the 48% lower growth rate of conspecific prey. Detailed laboratory experiments suggest that the 3:1 difference in cannibalism and predation rate was due to the higher efficiency of heterospecific prey in escaping immediate attacks. However, no difference was observed when the predator was a closely related salamander species, Gyrinophilus porphyriticus, indicating that

  13. 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. 

  14. Young drivers' optimism bias for accident risk and driving skill: Accountability and insight experience manipulations.

    PubMed

    White, Melanie J; Cunningham, Lauren C; Titchener, Kirsteen

    2011-07-01

    This study aimed to determine whether two brief, low cost interventions would reduce young drivers' optimism bias for their driving skills and accident risk perceptions. This tendency for such drivers to perceive themselves as more skillful and less prone to driving accidents than their peers may lead to less engagement in precautionary driving behaviours and a greater engagement in more dangerous driving behaviour. 243 young drivers (aged 17-25 years) were randomly allocated to one of three groups: accountability, insight or control. All participants provided both overall and specific situation ratings of their driving skills and accident risk relative to a typical young driver. Prior to completing the questionnaire, those in the accountability condition were first advised that their driving skills and accident risk would be later assessed via a driving simulator. Those in the insight condition first underwent a difficult computer-based hazard perception task designed to provide participants with insight into their potential limitations when responding to hazards in difficult and unpredictable driving situations. Participants in the control condition completed only the questionnaire. Results showed that the accountability manipulation was effective in reducing optimism bias in terms of participants' comparative ratings of their accident risk in specific situations, though only for less experienced drivers. In contrast, among more experienced males, participants in the insight condition showed greater optimism bias for overall accident risk than their counterparts in the accountability or control groups. There were no effects of the manipulations on drivers' skills ratings. The differential effects of the two types of manipulations on optimism bias relating to one's accident risk in different subgroups of the young driver sample highlight the importance of targeting interventions for different levels of experience. Accountability interventions may be beneficial for

  15. 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

  16. Can convict Cichlids (Amatitlania siquia) socially learn the degree of predation risk associated with novel visual cues in their environment?

    PubMed

    Barks, Patrick M; Godin, Jean-Guy J

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Modelling the fear effect in predator-prey interactions.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiaoying; Zanette, Liana; Zou, Xingfu

    2016-11-01

    A recent field manipulation on a terrestrial vertebrate showed that the fear of predators alone altered anti-predator defences to such an extent that it greatly reduced the reproduction of prey. Because fear can evidently affect the populations of terrestrial vertebrates, we proposed a predator-prey model incorporating the cost of fear into prey reproduction. Our mathematical analyses show that high levels of fear (or equivalently strong anti-predator responses) can stabilize the predator-prey system by excluding the existence of periodic solutions. However, relatively low levels of fear can induce multiple limit cycles via subcritical Hopf bifurcations, leading to a bi-stability phenomenon. Compared to classic predator-prey models which ignore the cost of fear where Hopf bifurcations are typically supercritical, Hopf bifurcations in our model can be both supercritical and subcritical by choosing different sets of parameters. We conducted numerical simulations to explore the relationships between fear effects and other biologically related parameters (e.g. birth/death rate of adult prey), which further demonstrate the impact that fear can have in predator-prey interactions. For example, we found that under the conditions of a Hopf bifurcation, an increase in the level of fear may alter the direction of Hopf bifurcation from supercritical to subcritical when the birth rate of prey increases accordingly. Our simulations also show that the prey is less sensitive in perceiving predation risk with increasing birth rate of prey or increasing death rate of predators, but demonstrate that animals will mount stronger anti-predator defences as the attack rate of predators increases.

  2. 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

  3. Hypoxia increases the risk of egg predation in a nest-guarding fish

    PubMed Central

    Kvarnemo, Charlotta; Andrén, Maria Norevik; Larsson, Therése

    2016-01-01

    For fish with parental care, a nest should meet both the oxygenation needs of the eggs and help protect them against predators. While a small nest opening facilitates the latter, it impedes the former and vice versa. We investigated how the presence of potential egg predators in the form of shore crabs Carcinus maenas affects nest building, egg fanning, defensive displays and filial cannibalism of egg-guarding male sand gobies Pomatoschistus minutus under two levels of dissolved oxygen. In the high oxygen treatment, males retained their nest opening size in the presence of crabs, while males in low oxygen built large nest openings both in the absence and presence of crabs, despite the fact that crabs were more likely to successfully intrude into nests with large entrances. Males in low oxygen also fanned more. In the presence of crabs males increased their defensive displays, but while males in high oxygen reduced fanning, males in low oxygen did not. Filial cannibalism was unaffected by treatment. Sand gobies thus prioritize egg ventilation over the protection afforded by small nest openings under hypoxia and adopt defensive behaviour to avert predator attention, even though this does not fully offset the threat from the egg predators. PMID:27853611

  4. Manipulating risk communication: Value predispositions shape public understandings of invasive species science in Hawaii.

    PubMed

    Warner, Keith D; Kinslow, Frances

    2013-02-01

    Most invasive species control programs are routine, but a small number prompt public controversy. Local value predispositions shape lay perception of the relative risks of invasive species and efforts to control them. Because control efforts are generally led by government scientists, lay perceptions of invasive species science are colored by public judgment of government credibility. This article examines the proposed release of an insect for biological control of the invasive strawberry guava tree which threatens conservation of Hawaii's forests. A local activist manipulated regulatory risk communication, appealed to local values, and persuaded some local members of the public and elected officials to oppose the insect release. This case illustrates how, in the absence of effective public engagement processes, routine scientific risk communication can be confounded by divergent knowledge taxonomies and perceptions of government hegemony.

  5. A risk/benefit analysis of spinal manipulation therapy for relief of lumbar or cervical pain.

    PubMed

    Powell, F C; Hanigan, W C; Olivero, W C

    1993-07-01

    Approximately 12 million Americans undergo spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) every year. Renewed interest in this method requires an analysis of its reported risks and possible benefits. This review describes two patients with spinal cord injuries associated with SMT and establishes the risk/benefit ratios for patients with lumbar or cervical pain. The first case is a man who underwent SMT for recurrent sciatica 4 years after chemonucleolysis. During therapy, he developed bilateral sciatica with urinary hesitancy. After self-referral, myelography demonstrated a total block; he underwent urgent discectomy with an excellent result 3 months after surgery. The second patient with an indwelling Broviac catheter and a history of lumbar osteomyelitis underwent SMT for neck pain. Therapy continued for 3 weeks despite the development of severe quadriparesis. After self-referral, he underwent an urgent anterior cervical decompression and removal of necrotic bone and an epidural abscess with partial neurological recovery. An analysis of these cases and 138 cases reported in the literature demonstrates six risk factors associated with complications of SMT. These include misdiagnosis, failure to recognize the onset or progression of neurological signs or symptoms, improper technique, SMT performed in the presence of a coagulation disorder or herniated nucleus pulposus, and manipulation of the cervical spine. Clinical trials of SMT have been summarized in several recent articles.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

  6. Predator-specific effects on incubation behaviour and offspring growth in great tits.

    PubMed

    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.

  7. Group-size-mediated habitat selection and group fusion-fission dynamics of bison under predation risk.

    PubMed

    Fortin, Daniel; Fortin, Marie-Eve; Beyer, Hawthorne L; Duchesne, Thierry; Courant, Sabrina; Dancose, Karine

    2009-09-01

    For gregarious animals the cost-benefit trade-offs that drive habitat selection may vary dynamically with group size, which plays an important role in foraging and predator avoidance strategies. We examined how habitat selection by bison (Bison bison) varied as a function of group size and interpreted these patterns by testing whether habitat selection was more strongly driven by the competing demands of forage intake vs. predator avoidance behavior. We developed an analytical framework that integrated group size into resource selection functions (RSFs). These group-size-dependent RSFs were based on a matched case-control design and were estimated using conditional logistic regression (mixed and population-averaged models). Fitting RSF models to bison revealed that bison groups responded to multiple aspects of landscape heterogeneity and that selection varied seasonally and as a function of group size. For example, roads were selected in summer, but not in winter. Bison groups avoided areas of high snow water equivalent in winter. They selected areas composed of a large proportion of meadow area within a 700-m radius, and within those areas, bison selected meadows. Importantly, the strength of selection for meadows varied as a function of group size, with stronger selection being observed in larger groups. Hence the bison-habitat relationship depended in part on the dynamics of group formation and division. Group formation was most likely in meadows. In contrast, risk of group fission increased when bison moved into the forest and was higher during the time of day when movements are generally longer and more variable among individuals. We also found that stronger selection for meadows by large rather than small bison groups was caused by longer residence time in individual meadows by larger groups and that departure from meadows appears unlikely to result from a depression in food intake rate. These group-size-dependent patterns were consistent with the hypothesis

  8. Cryptic female Strawberry poison frogs experience elevated predation risk when associating with an aposematic partner.

    PubMed

    Segami Marzal, Julia Carolina; Rudh, Andreas; Rogell, Björn; Ödeen, Anders; Løvlie, Hanne; Rosher, Charlotte; Qvarnström, Anna

    2017-01-01

    Population divergence in sexual signals may lead to speciation through prezygotic isolation. Sexual signals can change solely due to variation in the level of natural selection acting against conspicuousness. However, directional mate choice (i.e., favoring conspicuousness) across different environments may lead to gene flow between populations, thereby delaying or even preventing the evolution of reproductive barriers and speciation. In this study, we test whether natural selection through predation upon mate-choosing females can favor corresponding changes in mate preferences. Our study system, Oophaga pumilio, is an extremely color polymorphic neotropical frog with two distinctive antipredator strategies: aposematism and crypsis. The conspicuous coloration and calling behavior of aposematic males may attract both cryptic and aposematic females, but predation may select against cryptic females choosing aposematic males. We used an experimental approach where domestic fowl were encouraged to find digitized images of cryptic frogs at different distances from aposematic partners. We found that the estimated survival time of a cryptic frog was reduced when associating with an aposematic partner. Hence, predation may act as a direct selective force on female choice, favoring evolution of color assortative mating that, in turn, may strengthen the divergence in coloration that natural selection has generated.

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

    PubMed Central

    Karpestam, Einat; Merilaita, Sami; Forsman, Anders

    2012-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. Temporal effects of hunting on foraging behavior of an apex predator: Do bears forego foraging when risk is high?

    PubMed

    Hertel, Anne G; Zedrosser, Andreas; Mysterud, Atle; Støen, Ole-Gunnar; Steyaert, Sam M J G; Swenson, Jon E

    2016-12-01

    Avoiding predators most often entails a food cost. For the Scandinavian brown bear (Ursus arctos), the hunting season coincides with the period of hyperphagia. Hunting mortality risk is not uniformly distributed throughout the day, but peaks in the early morning hours. As bears must increase mass for winter survival, they should be sensitive to temporal allocation of antipredator responses to periods of highest risk. We expected bears to reduce foraging activity at the expense of food intake in the morning hours when risk was high, but not in the afternoon, when risk was low. We used fine-scale GPS-derived activity patterns during the 2 weeks before and after the onset of the annual bear hunting season. At locations of probable foraging, we assessed abundance and sugar content, of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), the most important autumn food resource for bears in this area. Bears decreased their foraging activity in the morning hours of the hunting season. Likewise, they foraged less efficiently and on poorer quality berries in the morning. Neither of our foraging measures were affected by hunting in the afternoon foraging bout, indicating that bears did not allocate antipredator behavior to times of comparably lower risk. Bears effectively responded to variation in risk on the scale of hours. This entailed a measurable foraging cost. The additive effect of reduced foraging activity, reduced forage intake, and lower quality food may result in poorer body condition upon den entry and may ultimately reduce reproductive success.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. Origins of female genital diversity: Predation risk and lock-and-key explain rapid divergence during an adaptive radiation.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Christopher M; Langerhans, R Brian

    2015-09-01

    The study of male genital diversity has long overshadowed evolutionary inquiry of female genitalia, despite its nontrivial diversity. Here, we identify four nonmutually exclusive mechanisms that could lead to genital divergence in females, and potentially generate patterns of correlated male-female genital evolution: (1) ecological variation alters the context of sexual selection ("ecology hypothesis"), (2) sexually antagonistic selection ("sexual-conflict hypothesis"), (3) female preferences for male genitalia mediated by female genital traits ("female-choice hypothesis"), and (4) selection against inter-population mating ("lock-and-key hypothesis"). We performed an empirical investigation of all four hypotheses using the model system of Bahamas mosquitofish inhabiting blue holes that vary in predation risk. We found unequivocal support for the ecology hypothesis, with females exhibiting a smaller genital opening in blue holes containing piscivorous fish. This is consistent with stronger postmating female choice/conflict when predators are present, but greater premating female choice in their absence. Our results additionally supported the lock-and-key hypothesis, uncovering a pattern of reproductive character displacement for genital shape. We found no support for the sexual conflict or female choice hypotheses. Our results demonstrate a strong role for ecology in generating female genital diversity, and suggest that lock-and-key may provide a viable cause of female genital diversification.

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Fear and loathing in the benthos: Responses of aquatic insect larvae to the pesticide imidacloprid in the presence of chemical signals of predation risk.

    PubMed

    Pestana, João L T; Loureiro, Susana; Baird, Donald J; Soares, Amadeu M V M

    2009-06-28

    The influence of interactions between pesticide exposure and perceived predation risk on the lethal and sub-lethal responses of two aquatic insects was investigated using the pesticide imidacloprid, and a combination of predator-release kairomones from trout and alarm substances from conspecifics. Laboratory experiments examined feeding and respiration rates of the caddisfly Sericostoma vittatum as well as the growth, emergence and respiration rates of the midge Chironomus riparius, exposed to sub-lethal concentrations of imidacloprid. The effects of the two stressors on burrowing behaviour of both species were also assessed. The results show significant effects of environmentally relevant concentrations of imidacloprid on all endpoints studied. Perceived predation risk also elicited sub-lethal effects in C. riparius and S. vittatum, the latter species being less responsive to predation cues. The effects of simultaneous exposure to both types of stressors were assessed using two different approaches: analysis of variance and conceptual models [concentration addition (CA) and independent action (IA)] normally used for the evaluation of contaminant mixture exposure. Both statistical approaches showed no significant interactions on responses in simultaneous exposures in the majority of parameters assessed with only a signification deviation from the reference CA and IA models being found for C. riparius respiration data contrary to the ANOVA results. Exposure to imidacloprid also compromised antipredator behavioural responses of both insect species, with potential negative consequences in terms of mortality from predation in the field. The results obtained demonstrate that natural and anthropogenic stressors can be treated within the same framework providing compatible data for modelling. For an improved interpretation of ecological effects it will be important to expand the mechanistic study of effects of combined exposure to pesticides and perceived predation risk

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

    Hafer, Nina; 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.

  1. Behavioral Hypervolumes of Predator Groups and Predator-Predator Interactions Shape Prey Survival Rates and Selection on Prey Behavior.

    PubMed

    Pruitt, Jonathan N; Howell, Kimberly A; Gladney, Shaniqua J; Yang, Yusan; Lichtenstein, James L L; Spicer, Michelle Elise; Echeverri, Sebastian A; Pinter-Wollman, Noa

    2017-03-01

    Predator-prey interactions often vary on the basis of the traits of the individual predators and prey involved. Here we examine whether the multidimensional behavioral diversity of predator groups shapes prey mortality rates and selection on prey behavior. We ran individual sea stars (Pisaster ochraceus) through three behavioral assays to characterize individuals' behavioral phenotype along three axes. We then created groups that varied in the volume of behavioral space that they occupied. We further manipulated the ability of predators to interact with one another physically via the addition of barriers. Prey snails (Chlorostome funebralis) were also run through an assay to evaluate their predator avoidance behavior before their use in mesocosm experiments. We then subjected pools of prey to predator groups and recorded the number of prey consumed and their behavioral phenotypes. We found that predator-predator interactions changed survival selection on prey traits: when predators were prevented from interacting, more fearful snails had higher survival rates, whereas prey fearfulness had no effect on survival when predators were free to interact. We also found that groups of predators that occupied a larger volume in behavioral trait space consumed 35% more prey snails than homogeneous predator groups. Finally, we found that behavioral hypervolumes were better predictors of prey survival rates than single behavioral traits or other multivariate statistics (i.e., principal component analysis). Taken together, predator-predator interactions and multidimensional behavioral diversity determine prey survival rates and selection on prey traits in this system.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lucken, Karol; Bales, William

    2008-01-01

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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Diversity and evolution of bodyguard manipulation.

    PubMed

    Maure, Fanny; Daoust, Simon Payette; Brodeur, Jacques; Mitta, Guillaume; Thomas, Frédéric

    2013-01-01

    Among the different strategies used by parasites to usurp the behaviour of their host, one of the most fascinating is bodyguard manipulation. While all classic examples of bodyguard manipulation involve insect parasitoids, induced protective behaviours have also evolved in other parasite-host systems, typically as specific dimensions of the total manipulation. For instance, parasites may manipulate the host to reduce host mortality during their development or to avoid predation by non-host predators. This type of host manipulation behaviour is rarely described, probably due to the fact that studies have mainly focused on predation enhancement rather than studying all the dimensions of the manipulation. Here, in addition to the classic cases of bodyguard manipulation, we also review these 'bodyguard dimensions' and propose extending the current definition of bodyguard manipulation to include the latter. We also discuss different evolutionary scenarios under which such manipulations could have evolved.

  6. 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.

  7. 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…

  8. Spatiotemporal patterns of duck nest density and predation risk: a multi-scale analysis of 18 years and more than 10,000 nests

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ringelman, Kevin M.; Eadie, John M.; Ackerman, Joshua T.; Sih, Andrew; Loughman, Daniel L.; Yarris, Gregory S.; Oldenburger, Shaun L.; McLandress, M. Robert

    2017-01-01

    Many avian species are behaviorally-plastic in selecting nest sites, and may shift to new locations or habitats following an unsuccessful breeding attempt. If there is predictable spatial variation in predation risk, the process of many individuals using prior experience to adaptively change nest sites may scale up to create shifting patterns of nest density at a population level. We used 18 years of waterfowl nesting data to assess whether there were areas of consistently high or low predation risk, and whether low-risk areas increased, and high-risk areas decreased in nest density the following year. We created kernel density maps of successful and unsuccessful nests in consecutive years and found no correlation in predation risk and no evidence for adaptive shifts, although nest density was correlated between years. We also examined between-year correlations in nest density and nest success at three smaller spatial scales: individual nesting fields (10–28 ha), 16-ha grid cells and 4-ha grid cells. Here, results were similar across all scales: we found no evidence for year-to-year correlation in nest success but found strong evidence that nest density was correlated between years, and areas of high nest success increased in nest density the following year. Prior research in this system has demonstrated that areas of high nest density have higher nest success, and taken together, our results suggest that ducks may adaptively select nest sites based on the local density of conspecifics, rather than the physical location of last year's nest. In unpredictable environments, current cues, such as the presence of active conspecific nests, may be especially useful in selecting nest sites. The cues birds use to select breeding locations and successfully avoid predators deserve continued attention, especially in systems of conservation concern.

  9. Volumetric Abnormalities Predating the Onset of Schizophrenia and Affective Psychoses: An MRI Study in Subjects at Ultrahigh Risk of Psychosis

    PubMed Central

    Dazzan, Paola; Soulsby, Bridget; Mechelli, Andrea; Wood, Stephen J.; Velakoulis, Dennis; Phillips, Lisa J.; Yung, Alison R.; Chitnis, Xavier; Lin, Ashleigh; Murray, Robin M.; McGorry, Patrick D.; McGuire, Philip K.; Pantelis, Christos

    2012-01-01

    It remains unclear whether brain structural abnormalities observed before the onset of psychosis are specific to schizophrenia or are common to all psychotic disorders. This study aimed to measure regional gray matter volume prior to the onset of schizophreniform and of affective psychoses. We investigated 102 subjects at ultrahigh risk (UHR) of developing psychosis recruited from the Personal Assessment and Crisis Evaluation Clinic in Melbourne, Australia. Twenty-eight of these subjects developed psychosis subsequent to scanning: 19 schizophrenia, 7 affective psychoses, and 2 other psychoses. We examined regional gray matter volume using 1.5 mm thick, coronal, 1.5 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging and voxel-based morphometry methods of image analysis. Subjects were scanned at presentation and were followed up clinically for a minimum of 12 months, to detect later transition to psychosis. We found that both groups of subjects who subsequently developed psychosis (schizophrenia and affective psychosis) showed reductions in the frontal cortex relative to UHR subjects who did not develop psychosis. The subgroup that subsequently developed schizophrenia also showed smaller volumes in the parietal cortex and, at trend level, in the temporal cortex, whereas those who developed an affective psychosis had significantly smaller subgenual cingulate volumes. These preliminary findings suggest that volumetric abnormalities in UHR individuals developing schizophrenia vs affective psychoses comprise a combination of features that predate both disorders and others that may be specific to the nature of the subsequent disorder. PMID:21518921

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Food provisioning increases the risk of injury in a long-lived marine top predator

    PubMed Central

    McHugh, Katherine A.; Siegal, Eilidh M.; Lusseau, David; McCabe, Elizabeth Berens; Lovewell, Gretchen; Wells, Randall S.

    2016-01-01

    Food provisioning of wildlife is a major concern for management and conservation agencies worldwide because it encourages unnatural behaviours in wild animals and increases each individual's risk for injury and death. Here we investigate the contributing factors and potential fitness consequences of a recent increase in the frequency of human interactions with common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Sarasota Bay, Florida. A rising proportion of the local long-term resident dolphin community is becoming conditioned to human interactions through direct and indirect food provisioning. We investigate variables that are affecting conditioning and if the presence of human-induced injuries is higher for conditioned versus unconditioned dolphins. Using the most comprehensive long-term dataset available for a free-ranging bottlenose dolphin population (more than 45 years; more than 32 000 dolphin group sightings; more than 1100 individuals), we found that the association with already conditioned animals strongly affected the probability of dolphins becoming conditioned to human interactions, confirming earlier findings that conditioning is partly a learned behaviour. More importantly, we found that conditioned dolphins were more likely to be injured by human interactions when compared with unconditioned animals. This is alarming, as conditioning could lead to a decrease in survival, which could have population-level consequences. We did not find a significant relationship between human exposure or natural prey availability and the probability of dolphins becoming conditioned. This could be due to low sample size or insufficient spatio-temporal resolution in the available data. Our findings show that wildlife provisioning may lead to a decrease in survival, which could ultimately affect population dynamics. PMID:28083101

  15. Assessing the risk of stroke from neck manipulation: a systematic review

    PubMed Central

    Haynes, M J; Vincent, K; Fischhoff, C; Bremner, A P; Lanlo, O; Hankey, G J

    2012-01-01

    Background Strokes, typically involving vertebral artery dissection, can follow cervical spinal manipulative therapy, and these types of stroke occur rarely. There is disagreement about whether a strong association between neck manipulation and stroke exists. An earlier systematic review found two relevant studies of association that used controls, which also discussed the limitations of the two papers. Our systematic review updates the earlier review, and aims to determine whether conclusive evidence of a strong association exists. Methods PRISMA guidelines for systematic reviews were followed, and the literature was searched using a strategy that included the terms ‘neck manipulation’ and ‘stroke’ from the PubMed, Embase, CINAHL Plus and AMED databases. Citations were included if they met criteria such as being case–control studies, and dealt with neck manipulation and/or neck movement/positioning. Papers were scored for their quality, using similar criteria to the earlier review. For individual criteria, each study was assigned a full positive score if the criterion was satisfied completely. Results Four case–control studies and one case–control study, which included a case- crossover design, met the selection criteria, but all of them had at least three items in the quality assessment that failed to be completely positive. Two studies were assessed to be the most robustly designed, one indicating a strong association between stroke and various intensities of neck movement, including manipulation, and the other suggesting a much reduced relative association when using primary care practitioners’ visits as controls. However, potential biases and confounders render the results inconclusive. Conclusion Conclusive evidence is lacking for a strong association between neck manipulation and stroke, but is also absent for no association. Future studies of association will need to minimise potential biases and confounders, and ideally have sufficient

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-05-01

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

  20. Predator hunting mode and habitat domain alter nonconsumptive effects in predator-prey interactions.

    PubMed

    Preisser, Evan L; Orrock, John L; Schmitz, Oswald J

    2007-11-01

    Predators can affect prey populations through changes in traits that reduce predation risk. These trait changes (nonconsumptive effects, NCEs) can be energetically costly and cause reduced prey activity, growth, fecundity, and survival. The strength of nonconsumptive effects may vary with two functional characteristics of predators: hunting mode (actively hunting, sit-and-pursue, sit-and-wait) and habitat domain (the ability to pursue prey via relocation in space; can be narrow or broad). Specifically, cues from fairly stationary sit-and-wait and sit-and-pursue predators should be more indicative of imminent predation risk, and thereby evoke stronger NCEs, compared to cues from widely ranging actively hunting predators. Using a meta-analysis of 193 published papers, we found that cues from sit-and-pursue predators evoked stronger NCEs than cues from actively hunting predators. Predator habitat domain was less indicative of NCE strength, perhaps because habitat domain provides less reliable information regarding imminent risk to prey than does predator hunting mode. Given the importance of NCEs in determining the dynamics of prey communities, our findings suggest that predator characteristics may be used to predict how changing predator communities translate into changes in prey. Such knowledge may prove particularly useful given rates of local predator change due to habitat fragmentation and the introduction of novel predators.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

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

  4. Can prey exhibit threat-sensitive generalization of predator recognition? Extending the Predator Recognition Continuum Hypothesis

    PubMed Central

    Ferrari, Maud C.O; Messier, François; Chivers, Douglas P

    2008-01-01

    Despite the importance of predator recognition in mediating predator–prey interactions, we know little about the specific characteristics that prey use to distinguish predators from non-predators. Recent experiments indicate that some prey who do not innately recognize specific predators as threats have the ability to display antipredator responses upon their first encounter with those predators if they are similar to predators that the prey has recently learned to recognize. The purpose of our present experiment is to test whether this generalization of predator recognition is dependent on the level of risk associated with the known predator. We conditioned fathead minnows to chemically recognize brown trout either as a high or low threat and then tested the minnows for their responses to brown trout, rainbow trout (closely related predator) or yellow perch (distantly related predator). When the brown trout represents a high-risk predator, minnows show an antipredator response to the odour of brown trout and rainbow trout but not to yellow perch. However, when the brown trout represents a low-risk predator, minnows display antipredator responses to brown trout, but not to the rainbow trout or yellow perch. We discuss these results in the context of the Predator Recognition Continuum Hypothesis. PMID:18445564

  5. Female preference and predation risk models can explain the maintenance of a fallow deer (Dama dama) lek and its 'handy' location.

    PubMed

    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.

  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. 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.

  8. 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…

  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 diversity and density affect levels of predation upon strongly interactive species in temperate rocky reefs.

    PubMed

    Guidetti, Paolo

    2007-12-01

    Indirect effects of predators in the classic trophic cascade theory involve the effects of basal species (e.g. primary producers) mediated by predation upon strongly interactive consumers (e.g. grazers). The diversity and density of predators, and the way in which they interact, determine whether and how the effects of different predators on prey combine. Intraguild predation, for instance, was observed to dampen the effects of predators on prey in many ecosystems. In marine systems, species at high trophic levels are particularly susceptible to extinction (at least functionally). The loss of such species, which is mainly attributed to human activities (mostly fishing), is presently decreasing the diversity of marine predators in many areas of the world. Experimental studies that manipulate predator diversity and investigate the effects of this on strongly interactive consumers (i.e. those potentially capable of causing community-wide effects) in marine systems are scant, especially in the rocky sublittoral. I established an experiment that utilised cage enclosures to test whether the diversity and density of fish predators (two sea breams and two wrasses) would affect predation upon juvenile and adult sea urchins, the most important grazers in Mediterranean sublittoral rocky reefs. Changes in species identity (with sea breams producing major effects) and density of predators affected predation upon sea urchins more than changes in species richness per se. Predation upon adult sea urchins decreased in the presence of multiple predators, probably due to interference competition between sea breams and wrasses. This study suggests that factors that influence both fish predator diversity and density in Mediterranean rocky reefs (e.g. fishing and climate change) may have the potential to affect the predators' ability to control sea urchin population density, with possible repercussions for the whole benthic community structure.

  11. Cannibalism and intraguild predation of eggs within a diverse predator assemblage.

    PubMed

    Takizawa, Tadashi; Snyder, William E

    2011-02-01

    Greater biodiversity among aphid predators sometimes leads to greater predator reproductive success. This could occur if cannibalism of predator eggs is consistently stronger than intraguild predation, such that diversity dilutes cannibalism risk when total predator densities remain constant across diversity levels. We compared the frequency of cannibalism versus intraguild predation by adult predators of four species [the lady beetles Coccinella septempunctata L. and Hippodamia convergens Guerin-Meneville, and the predatory bugs Geocoris bullatus (Say) and Nabis alternatus Parshley] on the eggs of three predator species (all of these predators but Nabis). For both coccinellid species, egg predation averaged across all intraguild predators was less frequent than cannibalism. In contrast, Geocoris eggs were generally more likely to be consumed by intraguild predators than by conspecifics. Closer inspection of the data revealed that Geocoris consistently consumed fewer eggs than the other species, regardless of egg species. Indeed, for lady beetle eggs it was relatively infrequent egg predation by Geocoris that brought down the average across all heterospecific predators, masking the fact that adults of the two lady beetles were no more likely to act as egg cannibals than as intraguild predators. Nabis ate eggs of the two beetles at approximately equal rates, but rarely ate Geocoris eggs. Female predators generally consumed more eggs than did males, but this did not alter any of the patterns described above. Altogether, our results suggest that species-specific differences in egg predation rates determined the relative intensity of egg intraguild-predation versus cannibalism, rather than any more general trend for egg cannibalism to always exceed intraguild predation.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Interstellar Predation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cockell, C. S.; Lee, M.

    Although chemosynthesis and photosynthesis can theoretically supply enough energy for intelligence, for reasons elucidated here, heterotrophy and specifically phagotrophy (ingestion of prey) are likely to make predation a characteristic of life and extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI). Here, the Earth's biota is used to consider the nature of interstellar predation. The ability of the ETI to directly ingest a biota will be determined by the chiral preference of the ETI, the compatibility of the biochemistry used in life on Earth with the molecules required by the ETI and the potential toxicity of the macromolecules. If chirality is determined by astrophysical factors and not by the specificities of terrestrial origins of life and if molecules found in terrestrial organisms are also represented in ETIs (which could plausibly include hydrated carbohydrides and many amino acids that are similar or identical to amino acids found in meteoritic or cometary material) then the Earth might represent a universally appreciated resource. The Earth's biota could be used as an energy supply or, if other forms of technology have advanced to the point where bioreactors can be exclusively used to supply a civilization with food, as a culinary curiosity. Even in the absence of metabolic compatibility, technology can be used to extract useful products from an undigestible biota, similarly to the industrial biotransformation of cellulose. The value of the resource will also be determined by the availability of prey. Planets at stages in biological evolution where the surface is dominated by just one or several large (>5kg), abundant, easily captured organisms are particu- larly attractive to predators because harvesting techniques can be standardized. We discuss implications for exobiology and the `Fermi Paradox'.

  1. 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

  2. Risk assessment of insecticides used in rice on miridbug, Cyrtorhinus lividipennis Reuter, the important predator of brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens (Stal.).

    PubMed

    Preetha, G; Stanley, J; Suresh, S; Samiyappan, R

    2010-07-01

    The green miridbug, Cyrtorhinus lividipennis, an important natural enemy of the rice brown planthopper (BPH), Nilaparvata lugens plays a major role as a predator in suppressing the pest population. The study assessed the impact of certain potential insecticides used in the rice ecosystem on the miridbug predator and brown planthopper through contact toxicity. Eleven insecticides, including neonicotinoids, diamides, azomethine pyridines, carbamates, pyrethroids, organophosphates and cyclodienes were selected to test their toxicities against the nymphs of C. lividipennis and N. lugens. Median lethal concentration (LC(50)) was determined for each insecticide using an insecticide-coated vial (scintillation) residue bioassay, which revealed BPMC as the highly toxic chemical with an LC(50) of 0.003mga.iL(-1) followed by ethofenprox and clothianidin with LC(50) of 0.006mga.iL(-1) at 48 HAT against C. lividipennis and ethofenprox as the highly toxic chemical with an LC(50) of 0.009mga.iL(-1) followed by clothianidin with an LC(50) of 0.211mga.iL(-1) at 48h after treatment (HAT) against N. lugens. Among the insecticides tested, the cyclodiene compound, endosulfan had the lowest acute contact toxicity (LC(50)=66.65mga.iL(-1) at 48 HAT) to C. lividipennis. Among the insecticides tested, endosulfan, chlorpyriphos, acephate and methyl parathion are regarded as safer to C. lividipennis based on selectivity ratio, hazard quotient and probit substitution method of risk assessments.

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

    PubMed

    Costa, Zacharia J; Kishida, Osamu

    2015-08-01

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

  4. Rainfall and hydrological stability alter the impact of top predators on food web structure and function.

    PubMed

    Marino, Nicholas A C; Srivastava, Diane S; MacDonald, A Andrew M; Leal, Juliana S; Campos, Alice B A; Farjalla, Vinicius F

    2017-02-01

    Climate change will alter the distribution of rainfall, with potential consequences for the hydrological dynamics of aquatic habitats. Hydrological stability can be an important determinant of diversity in temporary aquatic habitats, affecting species persistence and the importance of predation on community dynamics. As such, prey are not only affected by drought-induced mortality but also the risk of predation [a non-consumptive effect (NCE)] and actual consumption by predators [a consumptive effect (CE)]. Climate-induced changes in rainfall may directly, or via altered hydrological stability, affect predator-prey interactions and their cascading effects on the food web, but this has rarely been explored, especially in natural food webs. To address this question, we performed a field experiment using tank bromeliads and their aquatic food web, composed of predatory damselfly larvae, macroinvertebrate prey and bacteria. We manipulated the presence and consumption ability of damselfly larvae under three rainfall scenarios (ambient, few large rainfall events and several small rainfall events), recorded the hydrological dynamics within bromeliads and examined the effects on macroinvertebrate colonization, nutrient cycling and bacterial biomass and turnover. Despite our large perturbations of rainfall, rainfall scenario had no effect on the hydrological dynamics of bromeliads. As a result, macroinvertebrate colonization and nutrient cycling depended on the hydrological stability of bromeliads, with no direct effect of rainfall or predation. In contrast, rainfall scenario determined the direction of the indirect effects of predators on bacteria, driven by both predator CEs and NCEs. These results suggest that rainfall and the hydrological stability of bromeliads had indirect effects on the food web through changes in the CEs and NCEs of predators. We suggest that future studies should consider the importance of the variability in hydrological dynamics among habitats as

  5. 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)

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Rodenticide exposure in wood mouse and house mouse populations on farms and potential secondary risk to predators.

    PubMed

    Tosh, David G; McDonald, Robbie A; Bearhop, Stuart; Llewellyn, Neville R; Montgomery, W Ian; Shore, Richard F

    2012-07-01

    We compared capture rates and exposure to SGARs of wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) and house mice (Mus domesticus) in autumn/winter on farms that currently used, had previously used, and never used SGARs. 6-10 weeks after baiting programmes began, 15 % of 55 wood mice and 33 % of 12 house mice had detectable liver SGAR residues. Wood mice with residues occurred on farms not using rodenticides, reflecting the high mobility of these animals, and four had multiple liver residues, possibly due to cross-contamination of baits. The winter decline in wood mouse numbers was similar on farms that did and did not use SGARs, suggesting little long-term impact of SGARs on populations on farms. Our results indicate residual levels of rodenticides will be ever present in small mammal prey across the agricultural landscape unless all farms in a locality cease application. The implications for secondary exposure and poisoning of predators are discussed.

  9. Central-place foraging and ecological effects of an invasive predator across multiple habitats.

    PubMed

    Benkwitt, Cassandra E

    2016-10-01

    Cross-habitat foraging movements of predators can have widespread implications for predator and prey populations, community structure, nutrient transfer, and ecosystem function. Although central-place foraging models and other aspects of optimal foraging theory focus on individual predator behavior, they also provide useful frameworks for understanding the effects of predators on prey populations across multiple habitats. However, few studies have examined both the foraging behavior and ecological effects of nonnative predators across multiple habitats, and none has tested whether nonnative predators deplete prey in a manner predicted by these foraging models. I conducted behavioral observations of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) to determine whether they exhibit foraging movements similar to other central-place consumers. Then, I used a manipulative field experiment to test whether their effects on prey populations are consistent with three qualitative predictions from optimal foraging models. Specifically, I predicted that the effects of invasive lionfish on native prey will (1) occur at central sites first and then in surrounding habitats, (2) decrease with increasing distance away from their shelter site, and (3) extend to greater distances when prey patches are spaced closer together. Approximately 40% of lionfish exhibited short-term crepuscular foraging movements into surrounding habitats from the coral patch reefs where they shelter during daylight hours. Over the course of 7 weeks, lionfish depleted native fish populations on the coral patch reefs where they reside, and subsequently on small structures in the surrounding habitat. However, their effects did not decrease with increasing distance from the central shelter site and the influence of patch spacing was opposite the prediction. Instead, lionfish always had the greatest effects in areas with the highest prey densities. The differences between the predicted and observed effects of lionfish

  10. 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

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-10-01

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Interactions of multiple predators with different foraging modes in an aquatic food web.

    PubMed

    Carey, Michael P; Wahl, David H

    2010-02-01

    Top predators can have different foraging modes that may alter their interactions and effects on food webs. Interactions between predators may be non-additive resulting from facilitation or interference, whereas their combined effects on a shared prey may result in emergent effects that are risk enhanced or risk reduced. To test the importance of multiple predators with different foraging modes, we examined the interaction between a cruising predator (largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides) and an ambush predator (muskellunge, Esox masquinongy) foraging on a shared prey (bluegill sunfish, Lepomis macrochirus) with strong anti-predator defense behaviors. Additive and substitution designs were used to compare individual to combined predator treatments in experimental ponds. The multiple predator interaction facilitated growth of the cruising predator in the combined predator treatments, whereas predator species had substitutable effects on the growth of the ambush predator. The combined predator treatments created an emergent effect on the prey; however, the direction was dependent on the experimental design. The additive design found a risk-reducing effect, whereas the substitution design found a risk-enhancing effect for prey fish. Indirect effects from the predators weakly extended to lower trophic levels (i.e., zooplankton community). Our results highlight the need to consider differences in foraging mode of top predators, interactions between predators, and emergent effects on prey to understand food webs.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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)

  2. Testing the threat-sensitive predator avoidance hypothesis: physiological responses and predator pressure in wild rabbits.

    PubMed

    Monclús, Raquel; Palomares, Francisco; Tablado, Zulima; Martínez-Fontúrbel, Ana; Palme, Rupert

    2009-01-01

    Predation is a strong selective force with both direct and indirect effects on an animal's fitness. In order to increase the chances of survival, animals have developed different antipredator strategies. However, these strategies have associated costs, so animals should assess their actual risk of predation and shape their antipredator effort accordingly. Under a stressful situation, such as the presence of predators, animals display a physiological stress response that might be proportional to the risk perceived. We tested this hypothesis in wild European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), subjected to different predator pressures, in Doñana National Park (Spain). We measured the concentrations of fecal corticosterone metabolites (FCM) in 20 rabbit populations. By means of track censuses we obtained indexes of mammalian predator presence for each rabbit population. Other factors that could modify the physiological stress response, such as breeding status, food availability and rabbit density, were also considered. Model selection based on information theory showed that predator pressure was the main factor triggering the glucocorticoid release and that the physiological stress response was positively correlated with the indexes of the presence of mammalian carnivore predators. Other factors, such as food availability and density of rabbits, were considerably less important. We conclude that rabbits are able to assess their actual risk of predation and show a threat-sensitive physiological response.

  3. Invasive predators and global biodiversity loss

    PubMed Central

    Glen, Alistair S.; Nimmo, Dale G.; Ritchie, Euan G.; Dickman, Chris R.

    2016-01-01

    Invasive species threaten biodiversity globally, and invasive mammalian predators are particularly damaging, having contributed to considerable species decline and extinction. We provide a global metaanalysis of these impacts and reveal their full extent. Invasive predators are implicated in 87 bird, 45 mammal, and 10 reptile species extinctions—58% of these groups’ contemporary extinctions worldwide. These figures are likely underestimated because 23 critically endangered species that we assessed are classed as “possibly extinct.” Invasive mammalian predators endanger a further 596 species at risk of extinction, with cats, rodents, dogs, and pigs threatening the most species overall. Species most at risk from predators have high evolutionary distinctiveness and inhabit insular environments. Invasive mammalian predators are therefore important drivers of irreversible loss of phylogenetic diversity worldwide. That most impacted species are insular indicates that management of invasive predators on islands should be a global conservation priority. Understanding and mitigating the impact of invasive mammalian predators is essential for reducing the rate of global biodiversity loss. PMID:27638204

  4. 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)

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Habitat complexity influences cascading effects of multiple predators.

    PubMed

    Grabowski, Jonathan H; Hughes, A Randall; Kimbro, David L

    2008-12-01

    Although multiple predator effects and trophic cascades have both been demonstrated in a wide variety of ecosystems, ecologists have yet to incorporate these studies into an experimental framework that also manipulates a common and likely important factor, spatial heterogeneity. We manipulated habitat complexity, the presence of two top predators (toadfish and blue crabs), and one intermediate predator (mud crabs) to determine whether habitat complexity influences the strength of multiple predator interactions across multiple trophic levels in experimental oyster reef communities. In the absence of toadfish, blue crabs caused significant mud crab mortality. Despite also directly consuming mud crabs, toadfish indirectly benefited this intermediate predator by decreasing blue crab consumption of mud crabs. Toadfish suppression of mud crab foraging activity, and thus decreased mud crab encounters with blue crabs, is likely responsible for this counterintuitive result. Contrary to previous investigations which suggest that more complex habitats reduce interference interactions among predators, reef complexity strengthened emergent multiple predator effects (MPEs) on mud crabs. The degree to which these MPEs cascaded down to benefit juvenile oysters (basal prey) depended on both habitat complexity and nonconsumptive effects derived from predator-predator interactions. Habitat complexity reduced the foraging efficiency of each crab species individually but released crab interference interactions when together, so that the two crabs collectively consumed more oysters on complex reefs. Regardless of reef complexity, toadfish consistently decreased consumption of oysters by both crab species individually and when together. Therefore, interactions between predator identity and habitat complexity structure trophic cascades on oyster reefs. Furthermore, these cascading effects of multiple predators were largely mediated by nonconsumptive effects in this system.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Exploiting interspecific olfactory communication to monitor predators.

    PubMed

    Garvey, Patrick M; Glen, Alistair S; Clout, Mick N; Wyse, Sarah V; Nichols, Margaret; Pech, Roger P

    2017-03-01

    Olfaction is the primary sense of many mammals and subordinate predators use this sense to detect dominant species, thereby reducing the risk of an encounter and facilitating coexistence. Chemical signals can act as repellents or attractants and may therefore have applications for wildlife management. We devised a field experiment to investigate whether dominant predator (ferret Mustela furo) body odor would alter the behavior of three common mesopredators: stoats (Mustela erminea), hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus), and ship rats (Rattus rattus). We predicted that apex predator odor would lead to increased detections, and our results support this hypothesis as predator kairomones (interspecific olfactory messages that benefit the receiver) provoked "eavesdropping" behavior by mesopredators. Stoats exhibited the most pronounced responses, with kairomones significantly increasing the number of observations and the time spent at a site, so that their occupancy estimates changed from rare to widespread. Behavioral responses to predator odors can therefore be exploited for conservation and this avenue of research has not yet been extensively explored. A long-life lure derived from apex predator kairomones could have practical value, especially when there are plentiful resources that reduce the efficiency of food-based lures. Our results have application for pest management in New Zealand and the technique of using kairomones to monitor predators could have applications for conservation efforts worldwide.

  11. Herbivore and predator diversity interactively affect ecosystem properties in an experimental marine community.

    PubMed

    Douglass, James G; Duffy, J Emmett; Bruno, John F

    2008-06-01

    Interacting changes in predator and prey diversity likely influence ecosystem properties but have rarely been experimentally tested. We manipulated the species richness of herbivores and predators in an experimental benthic marine community and measured their effects on predator, herbivore and primary producer performance. Predator composition and richness strongly affected several community and population responses, mostly via sampling effects. However, some predators survived better in polycultures than in monocultures, suggesting complementarity due to stronger intra- than interspecific interactions. Predator effects also differed between additive and substitutive designs, emphasizing that the relationship between diversity and abundance in an assemblage can strongly influence whether and how diversity effects are realized. Changing herbivore richness and predator richness interacted to influence both total herbivore abundance and predatory crab growth, but these interactive diversity effects were weak. Overall, the presence and richness of predators dominated biotic effects on community and ecosystem properties.

  12. 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.

  13. Cues of intraguild predators affect the distribution of intraguild prey.

    PubMed

    Choh, Yasuyuki; van der Hammen, Tessa; Sabelis, Maurice W; Janssen, Arne

    2010-06-01

    Theory on intraguild (IG) predation predicts that coexistence of IG-predators and IG-prey is only possible for a limited set of parameter values, suggesting that IG-predation would not be common in nature. This is in conflict with the observation that IG-predation occurs in many natural systems. One possible explanation for this difference might be antipredator behaviour of the IG-prey, resulting in decreased strength of IG-predation. We studied the distribution of an IG-prey, the predatory mite Neoseiulus cucumeris (Acari: Phytoseiidae), in response to cues of its IG-predator, the predatory mite Iphiseius degenerans. Shortly after release, the majority of IG-prey was found on the patch without cues of IG-predators, suggesting that they can rapidly assess predation risk. IG-prey also avoided patches where conspecific juveniles had been killed by IG-predators. Because it is well known that antipredator behaviour in prey is affected by the diet of the predator, we also tested whether IG-prey change their distribution in response to the food of the IG-predators (pollen or conspecific juveniles), but found no evidence for this. The IG-prey laid fewer eggs on patches with cues of IG-predators than on patches without cues. Hence, IG-prey changed their distribution and oviposition in response to cues of IG-predators. This might weaken the strength of IG-predation, possibly providing more opportunities for IG-prey and IG-predators to co-exist.

  14. 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.

  15. Vulnerability of black grouse hens to goshawk predation: result of food supply or predation facilitation?

    PubMed

    Tornberg, Risto; Helle, Pekka; Korpimäki, Erkki

    2011-07-01

    The plant cycle hypothesis says that poor-quality food affects both herbivorous voles (Microtinae spp.) and grouse (Tetraonidae spp.) in vole decline years, leading to increased foraging effort in female grouse and thus a higher risk of predation by the goshawk Accipiter gentilis. Poor-quality food (mainly the bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus) for these herbivores is induced by seed masting failure in the previous year, when the bilberry is able to allocate resources for chemical defence (the mast depression hypothesis; MDH). The predation facilitation hypothesis (PFH) in turn states that increased searching activity of vole-eating predators during or after the decline year of voles disturbs incubating and brooding grouse females. The behaviours used by grouse to avoid these terrestrial predators make them more vulnerable to predation by goshawks. We tested the main predictions of the MDH and PFH by collecting long-term (21-year) data from black grouse Tetrao tetrix hens and cocks killed by breeding goshawks supplemented with indices of bilberry crop, vole abundance and small carnivores in the vicinity of Oulu, northern Finland. We did not find obvious support for the prediction of the MDH that there is a negative correlation of bilberry crop in year t with vole abundance and with predation index of black grouse hens in year t + 1. We did find obvious support for the prediction of the PFH that there is a positive correlation between predator abundance and predation index of grouse hens, because the stoat Mustela erminea abundance index was positively related to the predation index of black grouse hens. We suggest that changes in vulnerability of grouse hens may mainly be caused by the guild of vole-eating predators, who shift to alternative prey in the decline phase of the vole cycle, and thus chase grouse hens and chicks to the talons of goshawks and other avian predators.

  16. 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.

  17. Cascading top-down effects of changing oceanic predator abundances.

    PubMed

    Baum, Julia K; Worm, Boris

    2009-07-01

    1. Top-down control can be an important determinant of ecosystem structure and function, but in oceanic ecosystems, where cascading effects of predator depletions, recoveries, and invasions could be significant, such effects had rarely been demonstrated until recently. 2. Here we synthesize the evidence for oceanic top-down control that has emerged over the last decade, focusing on large, high trophic-level predators inhabiting continental shelves, seas, and the open ocean. 3. In these ecosystems, where controlled manipulations are largely infeasible, 'pseudo-experimental' analyses of predator-prey interactions that treat independent predator populations as 'replicates', and temporal or spatial contrasts in predator populations and climate as 'treatments', are increasingly employed to help disentangle predator effects from environmental variation and noise. 4. Substantial reductions in marine mammals, sharks, and piscivorous fishes have led to mesopredator and invertebrate predator increases. Conversely, abundant oceanic predators have suppressed prey abundances. Predation has also inhibited recovery of depleted species, sometimes through predator-prey role reversals. Trophic cascades have been initiated by oceanic predators linking to neritic food webs, but seem inconsistent in the pelagic realm with effects often attenuating at plankton. 5. Top-down control is not uniformly strong in the ocean, and appears contingent on the intensity and nature of perturbations to predator abundances. Predator diversity may dampen cascading effects except where nonselective fisheries deplete entire predator functional groups. In other cases, simultaneous exploitation of predator and prey can inhibit prey responses. Explicit consideration of anthropogenic modifications to oceanic foodwebs should help inform predictions about trophic control. 6. Synthesis and applications. Oceanic top-down control can have important socio-economic, conservation, and management implications as

  18. Underwater manipulator

    DOEpatents

    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.

  19. Underwater manipulator

    DOEpatents

    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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. Mortality, behavior and the effects of predators on the intertidal distribution of littorinid gastropods.

    PubMed

    Rochette; Dill

    2000-10-25

    Predators can affect the vertical distribution of mobile intertidal invertebrates in two ways: they can (1) cause greater mortality of prey at certain intertidal levels, and (2) induce prey to seek safer intertidal areas. In this study, we investigate whether low-intertidal and subtidal predators affect the intertidal distribution of two congeneric species of small herbivorous gastropods of northeastern Pacific shores, Littorina sitkana Philippi 1846, and L. scutulata Gould 1849. In particular, we tested the hypothesis that predators affect the distribution of these snails by inducing them to seek higher and safer intertidal areas. On a wave-sheltered shore in Barkley Sound, British Columbia, L. sitkana and L. scutulata were both killed by predatory crabs (e.g., Cancer productus) more frequently when tethered near the lower limit of their intertidal distribution ( approximately 1 m) than when tethered where they were most common ( approximately 2.5 m), suggesting that high mortality rates are partly responsible for the lower-limit of these snails' intertidal distribution. However, two field mark-recapture experiments indicated that the snails' behavioral response to predation risk also influences their distribution. In the first experiment, snails from the 2.5-m level (low risk) transplanted to the 1.0-m level (high risk) displayed a strong and consistent tendency to move shoreward, especially L. sitkana, some traveling 10-15 m in 2-3 days to regain their original level. These shoreward movements were especially precise in the northern part of the study area, where predation rates on tethered snails were greatest. Furthermore, larger more vulnerable snails were more strongly oriented shoreward than smaller individuals, indicating that antipredator behavior might also contribute to intertidal size gradients in these species. In the second mark-recapture experiment, we manipulated predation risk using small cages and found that snails exposed to the odors of C

  3. Multiple predator effects in an intertidal food web.

    PubMed

    Van Son, Thijs Christiaan; Thiel, Martin

    2006-01-01

    1. We examined the effects of multiple predators from an intertidal boulder food web to test whether and how three different predator species affected the survival of a small amphipod species. 2. Predators were chosen because they differ in their foraging mode, two feeding at the bottom and in benthic refuges (nemertean and shrimp) and one in the water-column (juveniles of a fish). 3. Mortality of amphipods was not affected by nemerteans, but was high in the presence of shrimp or fish. Highest mortalities were observed in predator-combinations that contained both shrimp and fish. Amphipods responded to shrimp by escaping into the water column, while they avoided fish by remaining in the refuge. We conclude that predator-specific defence causes conflicts for prey when both shrimp and fish are present. 4. Comparing observed effects of multiple predators with expected effects revealed risk enhancement for the shrimp + fish combination. A comparison of different predictive models revealed that the multiplicative model was most appropriate, although additive models may work well under certain conditions. 5. Based on known consumption-ranges of the predators used, we conclude that nemerteans were saturated with prey while fish were far from their saturation point. A predator's functional response curve (prey consumption in relation to prey abundance) determines its impact on prey populations. This knowledge appears essential in order to predict whether prey organisms face risk enhancement, risk reduction or additive effects of multiple predators.

  4. Predator biomass determines the magnitude of non-consumptive effects (NCEs) in both laboratory and field environments.

    PubMed

    Hill, Jennifer M; Weissburg, Marc J

    2013-05-01

    Predator body size often indicates predation risk, but its significance in non-consumptive effects (NCEs) and predator risk assessment has been largely understudied. Although studies often recognize that predator body size can cause differing cascading effects, few directly examine prey foraging behavior in response to individual predator sizes or investigate how predator size is discerned. These mechanisms are important since perception of the risk imposed by predators dictates behavioral responses to predators and subsequent NCEs. Here, we evaluate the role of predator body size and biomass on risk assessment and the magnitude of NCEs by investigating mud crab foraging behavior and oyster survival in response to differing biomasses of blue crab predators using both laboratory and field methods. Cues from high predator biomass treatments including large blue crab predators and multiple small blue crab predators decreased mud crab foraging and increased oyster survival, whereas mud crab foraging in response to a single small blue crab did not differ from controls. Mud crabs also increased refuge use in the presence of large and multiple small, but not single small, blue crab predators. Thus, both predator biomass and aggregation patterns may affect the expression of NCEs. Understanding the impact of predator biomass may therefore be necessary to successfully predict the role of NCEs in shaping community dynamics. Further, the results of our laboratory experiments were consistent with observed NCEs in the field, suggesting that data from mesocosm environments can provide insight into field situations where flow and turbulence levels are moderate.

  5. Effects of predator functional diversity on grassland ecosystem function.

    PubMed

    Schmitz, Oswald J

    2009-09-01

    Predator species individually are known to have important effects on plant communities and ecosystem functions such as production, decomposition, and elemental cycling, the nature of which is determined by a key functional trait, predator hunting mode. However, it remains entirely uncertain how predators with different hunting modes combine to influence ecosystem function. I report on an experiment conducted in a New England grassland ecosystem that quantified the net effects of a sit-and-wait and an actively hunting spider species on the plant composition and functioning of a New England grassland ecosystem. I manipulated predator functional diversity by varying the dominance ratio of the two predator species among five treatments using a replacement series design. Experimentation revealed that predator functional diversity effects propagated down the live plant-based chain to affect the levels of plant diversity, and plant litter quality, elemental cycling, and production. Moreover, many of these effects could be approximately by the weighted average of the individual predator species effects, suggesting that this kind of predator diversity effect on ecosystems is not highly nonlinear.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Does predation contribute to tree diversity?

    PubMed

    Beckage, Brian; Clark, James S

    2005-04-01

    Seed and seedling predation may differentially affect competitively superior tree species to increase the relative recruitment success of poor competitors and contribute to the coexistence of tree species. We examined the effect of seed and seedling predation on the seedling recruitment of three tree species, Acer rubrum (red maple), Liriodendron tulipifera (yellow poplar), and Quercus rubra (northern red oak), over three years by manipulating seed and seedling exposure to predators under contrasting microsite conditions of shrub cover, leaf litter, and overstory canopy. Species rankings of seedling emergence were constant across microsites, regardless of exposure to seed predators, but varied across years. A. rubrum had the highest emergence probabilities across microsites in 1997, but Q. rubra had the highest emergence probabilities in 1999. Predators decreased seedling survival uniformly across species, but did not affect relative growth rates (RGRs). Q. rubra had the highest seedling survivorship across microsites, while L. tulipifera had the highest RGRs. Our results suggest that annual variability in recruitment success contributes more to seedling diversity than differential predation across microsites. We synthesized our results from separate seedling emergence and survival experiments to project seedling bank composition. With equal fecundity assumed across species, Q. rubra dominated the seedling bank, capturing 90% of the regeneration sites on average, followed by A. rubrum (8% of sites) and L. tulipifera (2% of sites). When seed abundance was weighted by species-specific fecundity, seedling bank composition was more diverse; L. tulipifera captured 62% of the regeneration sites, followed by A. rubrum (21% of sites) and Q. rubra (17% of sites). Tradeoffs between seedling performance and fecundity may promote the diversity of seedling regeneration by increasing the probability of inferior competitors capturing regeneration sites.

  10. 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

  11. Parental care of a cowbird host: caught between the costs of egg-removal and nest predation.

    PubMed Central

    Tewksbury, Joshua J; Martin, Thomas E; Hejl, Sallie J; Kuehn, Michael J; Jenkins, J Wajid

    2002-01-01

    Avian brood parasites reduce host fitness through the addition of parasitic eggs and the removal of host eggs. Both parasitic egg-addition and host egg-removal may be important sources of selection on host behaviour, creating fitness trade-offs with selection imposed by nest predation. However, the relative costs hosts suffer from egg-addition and host egg-removal and the responses to these costs are largely unstudied. Through experimental manipulations and observations, we demonstrate that increased nest attentiveness by female yellow warblers (Dendroica petechia) reduces the cost of brood parasitism by reducing egg-removal by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater). However, female attentiveness does not reduce the addition of parasitic eggs. Experimentally parasitized females respond to the threat of egg-removal by increasing nest attentiveness. Increased attentiveness, however, reduces time for females to gather food and requires males to visit the nest more often to feed incubating females. This increased activity in turn increases the risk of nest predation. Thus, brood parasitism (specifically egg-removal) and nest predation produce conflicting selection on incubation strategies, as parasitized hosts are caught between the costs of egg-removal by brood parasites, and the costs of increased nest predation if the female spends more time on the nest to reduce egg-removal. PMID:11886632

  12. Sexually selected UV signals in the tropical ornate jumping spider, Cosmophasis umbratica may incur costs from predation.

    PubMed

    Bulbert, Matthew W; O'Hanlon, James C; Zappettini, Shane; Zhang, Shichang; Li, Daiqin

    2015-02-01

    Sexually selected ornaments and signals are costly to maintain if they are maladaptive in nonreproductive contexts. The jumping spider Cosmophasis umbratica exhibits distinct sexual dichromatism with males displaying elaborate UV body markings that signal male quality. Female C. umbratica respond favorably to UV-reflecting males and ignore males that have their UV masked. However, Portia labiata, a UV-sensitive spider-eating specialist and a natural predator of C. umbratica, is known to use UV reflectance as a cue when hunting prey. We investigated the cost of these UV signals in C. umbratica in terms of their predation risk. Under experimental conditions, three choice scenarios were presented to P. labiata individuals. Choices by P. labiata were made between male C. umbratica with and without the UV signal; a UV-reflecting male and non-UV-reflecting female; and a UV-masked male and female. The presence and absence of UV signals was manipulated using an optical filter. Portia labiata exhibited a strong bias toward UV+ individuals. These results suggest the sexually selected trait of UV reflectance increases the visibility of males to UV-sensitive predators. The extent of this male-specific UV signal then is potentially moderated by predation pressure. Interestingly though, P. labiata still preferred males to females irrespective of whether UV reflectance was present or not. This suggests P. labiata can switch cues when conditions to detect UV reflectance are not optimal.

  13. 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 longer occurred when individuals were present at higher-than-ambient densities. Their role as dominant predator is, therefore, dependent on their density within the system and the density of other species within their guild (e.g., mud crabs). Our findings support the hypothesis that the effects of species loss at higher trophic levels are determined by predator identity and are subject to complex intraguild interactions that are largely

  14. Prey scan at random to evade observant predators.

    PubMed Central

    Scannell, J.; Roberts, G.; Lazarus, J.

    2001-01-01

    Anti-predator scans by animals occur with very irregular timing, so that the initiation of scans resembles a random, Poisson-like, process. At first sight, this seems both dangerous (predators could exploit the long intervals) and wastefull (scans after very short intervals are relatively uninformative). We explored vigilance timing using a new model that allows both predators and prey to vary their behaviour. Given predators that attack at random with respect to prey behaviour, constant inter-scan intervals minimize predation risk. However, if prey scan regularly to minimize their risk from randomly attacking predators, they become more vulnerable to predators that initiate attacks when the inter-scan intervals begin. If, in order to defeat this tactic, prey choose extremely variable inter-scan intervals, they become more vulnerable to predators who wait for long intervals before launching attacks. Only if predators can monitor the variability of inter-scan intervals and either attack immediately (if variability is too low) or wait for long intervals to attack (if variability is too high) does the empirically observed pattern of Poisson-like scanning become the optimal prey strategy. PMID:11296867

  15. Tadpoles balance foraging and predator avoidance: Effects of predation, pond drying, and hunger

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bridges, C.M.

    2002-01-01

    Organisms are predicted to make trade-offs when foraging and predator avoidance behaviors present conflicting demands. Balancing conflicting demands is important to larval amphibians because adult fitness can be strongly influenced by size at metamorphosis and duration of the larval period. Larvae in temporary ponds must maximize growth within a short time period to achieve metamorphosis before ponds dry, while simultaneously avoiding predators. To determine whether tadpoles trade off between conflicting demands, I examined tadpole (Pseudacris triseriata) activity and microhabitat use in the presence of red-spotted newts (Notopthalmus viridescens) under varying conditions of pond drying and hunger. Tadpoles significantly decreased activity and increased refuge use when predators were present. The proportion of active time tadpoles spent feeding was significantly greater in predator treatments, suggesting tadpoles adaptively balance the conflicting demands of foraging and predator avoidance without making apparent trade-offs. Tadpoles responded to simulated drying conditions by accelerating development. Pond drying did not modify microhabitat use or activity in the presence of predators, suggesting tadpoles perceived predation and hunger as greater immediate threats than desiccation, and did not take more risks.

  16. The Predator-Prey Relationship

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mitchell, Charles W.

    1977-01-01

    Many children develop a mistaken attitude about the predator-prey relationship in the ecosystem. Fairy tales portray the predator as evil or worthless. This article attempts to clarify the role of the predator by giving numerous examples of the value of predators. (MA)

  17. Comparing mechanisms of host manipulation across host and parasite taxa

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lafferty, Kevin D.; Shaw, Jenny C.

    2013-01-01

    Parasites affect host behavior in several ways. They can alter activity, microhabitats or both. For trophically transmitted parasites (the focus of our study), decreased activity might impair the ability of hosts to respond to final-host predators, and increased activity and altered microhabitat choice might increase contact rates between hosts and final-host predators. In an analysis of trophically transmitted parasites, more parasite groups altered activity than altered microhabitat choice. Parasites that infected vertebrates were more likely to impair the host’s reaction to predators, whereas parasites that infected invertebrates were more likely to increase the host’s contact with predators. The site of infection might affect how parasites manipulate their hosts. For instance, parasites in the central nervous system seem particularly suited to manipulating host behavior. Manipulative parasites commonly occupy the body cavity, muscles and central nervous systems of their hosts. Acanthocephalans in the data set differed from other taxa in that they occurred exclusively in the body cavity of invertebrates. In addition, they were more likely to alter microhabitat choice than activity. Parasites in the body cavity (across parasite types) were more likely to be associated with increased host contact with predators. Parasites can manipulate the host through energetic drain, but most parasites use more sophisticated means. For instance, parasites target four physiological systems that shape behavior in both invertebrates and vertebrates: neural, endocrine, neuromodulatory and immunomodulatory. The interconnections between these systems make it difficult to isolate specific mechanisms of host behavioral manipulation.

  18. Individual experience and evolutionary history of predation affect expression of heritable variation in fish personality and morphology.

    PubMed

    Dingemanse, Niels J; Van der Plas, Fons; Wright, Jonathan; Réale, Denis; Schrama, Maarten; Roff, Derek A; Van der Zee, Els; Barber, Iain

    2009-04-07

    Predation plays a central role in evolutionary processes, but little is known about how predators affect the expression of heritable variation, restricting our ability to predict evolutionary effects of predation. We reared families of three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus from two populations-one with a history of fish predation (predator sympatric) and one without (predator naive)-and experimentally manipulated experience of predators during ontogeny. For a suite of ecologically relevant behavioural ('personality') and morphological traits, we then estimated two key variance components, additive genetic variance (VA) and residual variance (VR), that jointly shape narrow-sense heritability (h2=VA/(VA+VR)). Both population and treatment differentially affected VA versus VR, hence h2, but only for certain traits. The predator-naive population generally had lower VA and h2 values than the predator-sympatric population for personality behaviours, but not morphological traits. Values of VR and h2 were increased for some, but decreased for other personality traits in the predator-exposed treatment. For some personality traits, VA and h2 values were affected by treatment in the predator-naive population, but not in the predator-sympatric population, implying that the latter harboured less genetic variation for behavioural plasticity. Replication and experimental manipulation of predation regime are now needed to confirm that these population differences were related to variation in predator-induced selection. Cross-environment genetic correlations (rA) were tight for most traits, suggesting that predator-induced selection can affect the evolution of the same trait expressed in the absence of predators. The treatment effects on variance components imply that predators can affect evolution, not only by acting directly as selective agents, but also by influencing the expression of heritable variation.

  19. Warming increases chlorpyrifos effects on predator but not anti-predator behaviours.

    PubMed

    Dinh Van, Khuong; Janssens, Lizanne; Debecker, Sara; Stoks, Robby

    2014-07-01

    Recent insights indicate that negative effects of pesticides on aquatic biota occur at concentrations that current legislation considers environmentally protective. We here address two, potentially interacting, mechanisms that may contribute to the underestimation of the impact of sublethal pesticide effects in single species tests at room temperature: the impairment of predator and antipredator behaviours and the stronger impact of organophosphate pesticides at higher temperatures. To address these issues we assessed the effects of chlorpyrifos on the predator and antipredator behaviours of larvae of the damselfly Ischnura elegans, important intermediate predators in aquatic food webs, in a common-garden warming experiment with replicated low- and high-latitude populations along the latitudinal gradient of this species in Europe. Chlorpyrifos reduced the levels of predator behavioural endpoints, and this reduction was stronger at the higher temperature for head orientations and feeding strikes. Chlorpyrifos also impaired two key antipredator behavioural endpoints, activity reductions in response to predator cues were smaller in the presence of chlorpyrifos, and chlorpyrifos caused a lower escape swimming speed; these effects were independent of temperature. This suggests chlorpyrifos may impact food web interactions by changing predator-prey interactions both with higher (predators) and lower trophic levels (food). Given that only the interaction with the lower trophic level was more impaired at higher temperatures, the overall pesticide-induced changes in food web dynamics may be strongly temperature-dependent. These findings were consistent in damselflies from low- and high-latitude populations, illustrating that thermal adaptation will not mitigate the increased toxicity of pesticides at higher temperatures. Our study not only underscores the relevance of including temperature and prey-predator interactions in ecological risk assessment but also their potential

  20. Specialist predator in a multi-species prey community: boreal voles and weasels.

    PubMed

    Sundell, Janne; Ylönen, Hannu

    2008-03-01

    Dissimilar vulnerabilities of different prey types and preferences of predators are factors likely to contribute to community dynamics. This may happen via differential individual properties of prey animals (e.g. vigilance, escape) or via habitat effects making hunting by a predator easier and more rewarding in some habitats, or both. Furthermore, community dynamics may be influenced by predator mediated apparent competition, in which an increase in one prey type has negative effects on another prey type indirectly via the shared predator. We summarize the current knowledge from the field in a model predator-prey system consisting of sympatric boreal vole species and their common specialist predator and review field studies using predator manipulation and studies on the responses of individuals in the laboratory and in outdoor enclosures. The vole species studied represent different prey types that are thought to have different vulnerabilities. Our observations on the main resident specialist predator, the least weasel (Mustela nivalis nivalis L.), show that it hunts according to prey availability and suitability of the hunting habitat. Prey voles respond to the presence of the predator behaviorally in various ways to avoid predation. We conclude that even if the least weasel is a specialized predator of small rodents it acts like a generalist predator within the small rodent guild and may facilitate the coexistence of prey species via predator switching. This may lead to interspecific synchrony between prey populations, which has often been observed. We suggest that the processes determining the community impact of predator-prey interactions are driven by the behavioral arms race between the predator and the prey, together with the habitat-dependent density of prey and net gain for the predator.

  1. Generalized optimal risk allocation: foraging and antipredator behavior in a fluctuating environment.

    PubMed

    Higginson, Andrew D; Fawcett, Tim W; Trimmer, Pete C; McNamara, John M; Houston, Alasdair I

    2012-11-01

    Animals live in complex environments in which predation risk and food availability change over time. To deal with this variability and maximize their survival, animals should take into account how long current conditions may persist and the possible future conditions they may encounter. This should affect their foraging activity, and with it their vulnerability to predation across periods of good and bad conditions. Here we develop a comprehensive theory of optimal risk allocation that allows for environmental persistence and for fluctuations in food availability as well as predation risk. We show that it is the duration of good and bad periods, independent of each other, rather than the overall proportion of time exposed to each that is the most important factor affecting behavior. Risk allocation is most pronounced when conditions change frequently, and optimal foraging activity can either increase or decrease with increasing exposure to bad conditions. When food availability fluctuates rapidly, animals should forage more when food is abundant, whereas when food availability fluctuates slowly, they should forage more when food is scarce. We also show that survival can increase as variability in predation risk increases. Our work reveals that environmental persistence should profoundly influence behavior. Empirical studies of risk allocation should therefore carefully control the duration of both good and bad periods and consider manipulating food availability as well as predation risk.

  2. Predator interference and stability of predator-prey dynamics.

    PubMed

    Přibylová, Lenka; Berec, Luděk

    2015-08-01

    Predator interference, that is, a decline in the per predator consumption rate as predator density increases, is generally thought to promote predator-prey stability. Indeed, this has been demonstrated in many theoretical studies on predator-prey dynamics. In virtually all of these studies, the stabilization role is demonstrated as a weakening of the paradox of enrichment. With predator interference, stable limit cycles that appear as a result of environmental enrichment occur for higher values of the environmental carrying capacity of prey, and even a complete absence of the limit cycles can happen. Here we study predator-prey dynamics using the Rosenzweig-MacArthur-like model in which the Holling type II functional response has been replaced by a predator-dependent family which generalizes many of the commonly used descriptions of predator interference. By means of a bifurcation analysis we show that sufficiently strong predator interference may bring about another stabilizing mechanism. In particular, hysteresis combined with (dis)appearance of stable limit cycles imply abrupt increases in both the prey and predator densities and enhanced persistence and resilience of the predator-prey system. We encourage refitting the previously collected data on predator consumption rates as well as for conducting further predation experiments to see what functional response from the explored family is the most appropriate.

  3. Visible implant elastomer (VIE) tagging and simulated predation risk elicit similar physiological stress responses in three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus.

    PubMed

    Fürtbauer, I; King, A J; Heistermann, M

    2015-05-01

    The effect of visible implant elastomer (VIE) tagging on the immediate physiological stress response was tested in female three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus, using non-invasive waterborne cortisol analysis. Post-tagging cortisol levels were significantly higher compared with pretreatment baseline concentrations; however, when comparing post-tagging cortisol levels with cortisol levels after exposure to a simulated aerial predator, no significant differences were found. This study indicates that VIE tagging elicits a physiological stress response similar to those occurring in the everyday lives of this important biological model organism.

  4. Effects of an infectious fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, on amphibian predator-prey interactions.

    PubMed

    Han, Barbara A; Searle, Catherine L; Blaustein, Andrew R

    2011-02-02

    The effects of parasites and pathogens on host behaviors may be particularly important in predator-prey contexts, since few animal behaviors are more crucial for ensuring immediate survival than the avoidance of lethal predators in nature. We examined the effects of an emerging fungal pathogen of amphibians, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, on anti-predator behaviors of tadpoles of four frog species. We also investigated whether amphibian predators consumed infected prey, and whether B. dendrobatidis caused differences in predation rates among prey in laboratory feeding trials. We found differences in anti-predator behaviors among larvae of four amphibian species, and show that infected tadpoles of one species (Anaxyrus boreas) were more active and sought refuge more frequently when exposed to predator chemical cues. Salamander predators consumed infected and uninfected tadpoles of three other prey species at similar rates in feeding trials, and predation risk among prey was unaffected by B. dendrobatidis. Collectively, our results show that even sub-lethal exposure to B. dendrobatidis can alter fundamental anti-predator behaviors in some amphibian prey species, and suggest the unexplored possibility that indiscriminate predation between infected and uninfected prey (i.e., non-selective predation) could increase the prevalence of this widely distributed pathogen in amphibian populations. Because one of the most prominent types of predators in many amphibian systems is salamanders, and because salamanders are susceptible to B. dendrobatidis, our work suggests the importance of considering host susceptibility and behavioral changes that could arise from infection in both predators and prey.

  5. Habitat-specific Tradeoffs Between Risk of Flow-induced Dislodgment and Fish Predation Affect Shell Morphologies of Potamopyrgus antipodarum in New Zealand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holomuzki, J. R.; Biggs, B. J.

    2005-05-01

    Smooth and spiny shell-morphs exist in populations of the mudsnail Potamopyrgus antipodarum in New Zealand streams and lakes. We estimated the relative frequencies of smooth and spiny shell-morphs from 11 rivers and 9 lakes on the South Island and used stepwise regression to identify environmental variables that affected shell-morph frequencies. Habitat (stream or lake) explained 57% of the variation in morph frequency. Nearly 70% of snails in streams were smooth-shelled, whereas >80% of snails in lakes were spiny. Results from flow tank experiments showed that spines collected seston (sloughing algae and leaf matter) at current speeds <40 cm/s, making spiny-morphs more prone to flow-induced dislodgment than smooth-morphs. Moreover, individuals with longer spines collected more seston, and hence were more susceptible to dislodgment, than those with shorter ones. However, an advantage of spines was lower predation rates by common bullies (Gobiomorphus cotidianus), a widespread benthic fish in New Zealand streams and lakes. All snails egested by bullies were dead, suggesting common bullies may help regulate mudsnail populations in nature. Our results suggest tradeoffs between susceptibility to flow-induced dislodgment and fish predation affect habitat-specific frequencies of shell morphologies for this snail.

  6. Risk of predation and weather events affect nest site selection by sympatric Pacific (Gavia pacifica) and Yellow-billed (Gavia adamsii) loons in Arctic habitats

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Haynes, Trevor B.; Schmutz, Joel A.; Lindberg, Mark S.; Rosenberger, Amanda E.

    2014-01-01

    Pacific (Gavia pacifica) and Yellow-billed (G. adamsii) loons nest sympatrically in Arctic regions. These related species likely face similar constraints and requirements for nesting success; therefore, use of similar habitats and direct competition for nesting habitat is likely. Both of these loon species must select a breeding lake that provides suitable habitat for nesting and raising chicks; however, characteristics of nest site selection by either species on interior Arctic lakes remains poorly understood. Here, logistic regression was used to compare structural and habitat characteristics of all loon nest locations with random points from lakes on the interior Arctic Coastal Plain, Alaska. Results suggest that both loon species select nest sites to avoid predation and exposure to waves and shifting ice. Loon nest sites were more likely to be on islands and peninsulas (odds ratio = 16.13, 95% CI = 4.64–56.16) than mainland shoreline, which may help loons avoid terrestrial predators. Further, nest sites had a higher degree of visibility (mean degrees of visibility to 100 and 200 m) of approaching predators than random points (odds ratio = 2.57, 95% CI = 1.22–5.39). Nests were sheltered from exposure, having lower odds of being exposed to prevailing winds (odds ratio = 0.34, 95% CI = 0.13–0.92) and lower odds of having high fetch values (odds ratio = 0.46, 95% CI = 0.22–0.96). Differences between Pacific and Yellow-billed loon nesting sites were subtle, suggesting that both species have similar general nest site requirements. However, Yellow-billed Loons nested at slightly higher elevations and were more likely to nest on peninsulas than Pacific Loons. Pacific Loons constructed built up nests from mud and vegetation, potentially in response to limited access to suitable shoreline due to other territorial loons. Results suggest that land managers wishing to protect habitats for these species should focus on lakes with islands as well as shorelines

  7. Collective behavior and predation success in a predator-prey model inspired by hunting bats.

    PubMed

    Lin, Yuan; Abaid, Nicole

    2013-12-01

    We establish an agent-based model to study the impact of prey behavior on the hunting success of predators. The predators and prey are modeled as self-propelled particles moving in a three-dimensional domain and subject to specific sensing abilities and behavioral rules inspired by bat hunting. The predators randomly search for prey. The prey either align velocity directions with peers, defined as "interacting" prey, or swarm "independently" of peer presence; both types of prey are subject to additive noise. In a simulation study, we find that interacting prey using low noise have the maximum predation avoidance because they form localized large groups, while they suffer high predation as noise increases due to the formation of broadly dispersed small groups. Independent prey, which are likely to be uniformly distributed in the domain, have higher predation risk under a low noise regime as they traverse larger spatial extents. These effects are enhanced in large prey populations, which exhibit more ordered collective behavior or more uniform spatial distribution as they are interacting or independent, respectively.

  8. Collective behavior and predation success in a predator-prey model inspired by hunting bats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Yuan; Abaid, Nicole

    2013-12-01

    We establish an agent-based model to study the impact of prey behavior on the hunting success of predators. The predators and prey are modeled as self-propelled particles moving in a three-dimensional domain and subject to specific sensing abilities and behavioral rules inspired by bat hunting. The predators randomly search for prey. The prey either align velocity directions with peers, defined as "interacting" prey, or swarm "independently" of peer presence; both types of prey are subject to additive noise. In a simulation study, we find that interacting prey using low noise have the maximum predation avoidance because they form localized large groups, while they suffer high predation as noise increases due to the formation of broadly dispersed small groups. Independent prey, which are likely to be uniformly distributed in the domain, have higher predation risk under a low noise regime as they traverse larger spatial extents. These effects are enhanced in large prey populations, which exhibit more ordered collective behavior or more uniform spatial distribution as they are interacting or independent, respectively.

  9. Chemical Compounds Related to the Predation Risk Posed by Malacophagous Ground Beetles Alter Self-Maintenance Behavior of Naive Slugs (Deroceras reticulatum)

    PubMed Central

    Bursztyka, Piotr; Saffray, Dominique; Lafont-Lecuelle, Céline; Brin, Antoine; Pageat, Patrick

    2013-01-01

    Evidence that terrestrial gastropods are able to detect chemical cues from their predators is obvious yet scarce, despite the scientific relevance of the topic to enhancing our knowledge in this area. This study examines the influence of cuticular extracts from predacious ground beetles (Carabus auratus, Carabus hispanus, Carabus nemoralis and Carabus coriaceus), and a neutral insect species (Musca domestica) on the shelter-seeking behavior of naive slugs (Deroceras reticulatum). Slugs, known to have a negative phototactic response, were exposed to light, prompting them to make a choice between either a shelter treated with a cuticular extract or a control shelter treated with pure ethyl alcohol. Their behavioral responses were recorded for one hour in order to determine their first shelter choice, their final position, and to compare the percentage of time spent in the control shelters with the time spent in the treated shelters.The test proved to be very effective: slugs spent most of the experiment in a shelter. They spent significantly more time in the control shelter than in the shelter treated with either C. nemoralis (Z = 2.43; p = 0.0151; Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-ranks test) or C. coriaceus cuticular extracts (Z = 3.31; p<0.01; Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-ranks test), with a seemingly stronger avoidance effect when presented with C. coriaceus extracts. The other cuticular extracts had no significant effect on any of the behavioral items measured. Although it cannot be entirely excluded that the differences observed, are partly due to the intrinsic properties of the vehicle employed to build the cuticular extracts, the results suggest that slugs can innately discriminate amongst different potential predators and adjust their behavioral response according to the relevance of the threat conveyed by their predator’s chemical cues. PMID:24244487

  10. Herbivore species richness, composition and community structure mediate predator richness effects and top-down control of herbivore biomass.

    PubMed

    Wilby, Andrew; Orwin, Kate H

    2013-08-01

    Changes in predator species richness can have important consequences for ecosystem functioning at multiple trophic levels, but these effects are variable and depend on the ecological context in addition to the properties of predators themselves. Here, we report an experimental study to test how species identity, community attributes, and community structure at the herbivore level moderate the effects of predator richness on ecosystem functioning. Using mesocosms containing predatory insects and aphid prey, we independently manipulated species richness at both predator and herbivore trophic levels. Community structure was also manipulated by changing the distribution of herbivore species across two plant species. Predator species richness and herbivore species richness were found to negatively interact to influence predator biomass accumulation, an effect which is hypothesised to be due to the breakdown of functional complementarity among predators in species-rich herbivore assemblages. The strength of predator suppression of herbivore biomass decreased as herbivore species richness and distribution across host plants increased, and positive predator richness effects on herbivore biomass suppression were only observed in herbivore assemblages of relatively low productivity. In summary, the study shows that the species richness, productivity and host plant distribution of prey communities can all moderate the general influence of predators and the emergence of predator species richness effects on ecosystem functioning.

  11. Kinship reinforces cooperative predator inspection in a cichlid fish.

    PubMed

    Hesse, Saskia; Anaya-Rojas, Jaime M; Frommen, Joachim G; Thünken, Timo

    2015-11-01

    Kin selection theory predicts that cooperation is facilitated between genetic relatives, as by cooperating with kin an individual might increase its inclusive fitness. Although numerous theoretical papers support Hamilton's inclusive fitness theory, experimental evidence is still underrepresented, in particular in noncooperative breeders. Cooperative predator inspection is one of the most intriguing antipredator strategies, as it implies high costs on inspectors. During an inspection event, one or more individuals leave the safety of a group and approach a potential predator to gather information about the current predation risk. We investigated the effect of genetic relatedness on cooperative predator inspection in juveniles of the cichlid fish Pelvicachromis taeniatus, a species in which juveniles live in shoals under natural conditions. We show that relatedness significantly influenced predator inspection behaviour with kin dyads being significantly more cooperative. Thus, our results indicate a higher disposition for cooperative antipredator behaviour among kin as predicted by kin selection theory.

  12. The effect of habitat structure on prey mortality depends on predator and prey microhabitat use.

    PubMed

    Klecka, Jan; Boukal, David S

    2014-09-01

    Structurally complex habitats provide cover and may hinder the movement of animals. In predator-prey relationships, habitat structure can decrease predation risk when it provides refuges for prey or hinders foraging activity of predators. However, it may also provide shelter, supporting structures and perches for sit-and-wait predators and hence increase their predation rates. We tested the effect of habitat structure on prey mortality in aquatic invertebrates in short-term laboratory predation trials that differed in the presence or absence of artificial vegetation. The effect of habitat structure on prey mortality was context dependent as it changed with predator and prey microhabitat use. Specifically, we observed an 'anti-refuge' effect of added vegetation: phytophilous predators that perched on the plants imposed higher predation pressure on planktonic prey, while mortality of benthic prey decreased. Predation by benthic and planktonic predators on either type of prey remained unaffected by the presence of vegetation. Our results show that the effects of habitat structure on predator-prey interactions are more complex than simply providing prey refuges or cover for predators. Such context-specific effects of habitat complexity may alter the coupling of different parts of the ecosystem, such as pelagic and benthic habitats, and ultimately affect food web stability through cascading effects on individual life histories and trophic link strengths.

  13. Food webs and intraguild predation: community interactions of a native mesocarnivore.

    PubMed

    Thompson, Craig M; Gese, Eric M

    2007-02-01

    Trophic level interactions between predators create complex relationships such as intraguild predation. Theoretical research has predicted two possible paths to stability in intraguild systems: intermediate predators either outcompete higher-order predators for shared resources or select habitat based on security. The effects of intraguild predation on intermediate mammalian predators such as swift foxes (Vulpes velox) are not well understood. We examined the relationships between swift foxes and both their predators and prey, as well the effect of vegetation structure on swift fox-coyote (Canis latrans) interactions, between August 2001 and August 2004. In a natural experiment created by the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeastern Colorado, USA, we documented swift fox survival and density in a variety of landscapes and compared these parameters in relation to prey availability, coyote abundance, and vegetation structure. Swift fox density varied significantly between study sites, while survival did not. Coyote abundance was positively related to the basal prey species and vegetation structure, while swift fox density was negatively related to coyote abundance, basal prey species, and vegetation structure. Our results support the prediction that, under intraguild predation in terrestrial systems, top predator distribution matches resource availability (resource match), while intermediate predator distribution inversely matches predation risk (safety match). While predation by coyotes may be the specific cause of swift fox mortality in this system, the more general mechanism appears to be exposure to predation moderated by shrub density.

  14. Predator experience overrides learned aversion to heterospecifics in stickleback species pairs

    PubMed Central

    Kozak, Genevieve M.; Boughman, Janette W.

    2015-01-01

    Predation risk can alter female mating decisions because the costs of mate searching and selecting attractive mates increase when predators are present. In response to predators, females have been found to plastically adjust mate preference within species, but little is known about how predators alter sexual isolation and hybridization among species. We tested the effects of predator exposure on sexual isolation between benthic and limnetic threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus spp.). Female discrimination against heterospecific mates was measured before and after females experienced a simulated attack by a trout predator or a control exposure to a harmless object. In the absence of predators, females showed increased aversion to heterospecifics over time. We found that predator exposure made females less discriminating and precluded this learned aversion to heterospecifics. Benthic and limnetic males differ in coloration, and predator exposure also affected sexual isolation by weakening female preferences for colourful males. Predator effects on sexual selection were also tested but predators had few effects on female choosiness among conspecific mates. Our results suggest that predation risk may disrupt the cognitive processes associated with mate choice and lead to fluctuations in the strength of sexual isolation between species. PMID:25808887

  15. Referential calls signal predator behavior in a group-living bird species.

    PubMed

    Griesser, Michael

    2008-01-08

    Predation is a powerful agent of natural selection, driving the evolution of antipredator calls [1]. These calls have been shown to communicate predator category [2-4] and/or predator distance to conspecifics [5-7]. However, the risk posed by predators depends also on predator behavior [8], and the ability of prey to communicate predator behavior to conspecifics would be a selective advantage reducing their predation risk. I tested this idea in Siberian jays (Perisoreus infaustus), a group-living bird species. Predation by hawks, and to a lesser extent by owls, is substantial and the sole cause of mortality in adult jays [9]. By using field data and predator-exposure experiments, I show here that jays used antipredator calls for hawks depending on predator behavior. A playback experiment demonstrated that these prey-to-prey calls were specific to hawk behavior (perch, prey search, attack) and elicited distinct, situation-specific escape responses. This is the first study to demonstrate that prey signals convey information about predator behavior to conspecifics. Given that antipredator calls in jays aim at protecting kin group members [10, 11], consequently lowering their mortality [9], kin-selected benefits could be an important factor for the evolution of predator-behavior-specific antipredator calls in such systems.

  16. Injury Risk Assessment of Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) Phase VI and Series 4000 Gloves During Extravehicular Activity (EVA) Hand Manipulation Tasks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kilby, Melissa

    2015-01-01

    Functional Extravehicular Mobility Units (EMUs) with high precision gloves are essential for the success of Extravehicular Activity (EVA). Previous research done at NASA has shown that total strength capabilities and performance are reduced when wearing a pressurized EMU. The goal of this project was to characterize the human-space suit glove interaction and assess the risk of injury during common EVA hand manipulation tasks, including pushing, pinching and gripping objects. A custom third generation sensor garment was designed to incorporate a combination of sensors, including force sensitive resistors, strain gauge sensors, and shear force sensors. The combination of sensors was used to measure the forces acting on the finger nails, finger pads, finger tips, as well as the knuckle joints. In addition to measuring the forces, data was collected on the temperature, humidity, skin conductance, and blood perfusion of the hands. Testing compared both the Phase VI and Series 4000 glove against an ungloved condition. The ungloved test was performed wearing the sensor garment only. The project outcomes identified critical landmarks that experienced higher workloads and are more likely to suffer injuries. These critical landmarks varied as a function of space suit glove and task performed. The results showed that less forces were acting on the hands while wearing the Phase VI glove as compared to wearing the Series 4000 glove. Based on our findings, the engineering division can utilize these methods for optimizing the current space suit glove and designing next generation gloves to prevent injuries and optimize hand mobility and comfort.

  17. Plastic Hatching Timing by Red-Eyed Treefrog Embryos Interacts with Larval Predator Identity and Sublethal Predation to Affect Prey Morphology but Not Performance

    PubMed Central

    Touchon, Justin C.; Wojdak, Jeremy M.

    2014-01-01

    Many animals respond to predation risk by altering their morphology, behavior, or life-history. We know a great deal about the cues prey respond to and the changes to prey that can be induced by predation risk, but less is known about how plastic responses to predators may be affected by separate plastic responses occurring earlier in life, particularly during the embryonic period. Embryos of a broad array of taxa can respond to egg- or larval-stage risks by altering hatching timing, which may alter the way organisms respond to future predators. Using the red-eyed treefrog (Agalychnis callidryas), a model for understanding the effects of plasticity across life-stages, we assessed how the combined effects of induced variation in the timing of embryo hatching and variation in the larval predator community impacted tadpole morphology, pigmentation and swimming performance. We found that A. callidryas tadpoles developed deeper tail muscles and fins and darker pigmentation in response to fish predators, either when alone or in diverse community with other predators. Tadpoles altered morphology much less so to dragonfly naiads or water bugs. Interestingly, morphological responses to predators were also affected by induced differences in hatching age, with early and late-hatched tadpoles exhibiting different allometric relationships between tail height and body length in different predator environments. Beyond induced morphological changes, fish predators often damaged tadpoles’ tails without killing them (i.e., sublethal predation), but these tadpoles swam equally quickly to those with fully intact tails. This was due to the fact that tadpoles with more damaged tails increased tail beats to achieve equal swimming speed. This study demonstrates that plastic phenotypic responses to predation risk can be influenced by a complex combination of responses to both the embryo and larval environments, but also that prey performance can be highly resilient to sublethal predation

  18. Landscape features influence postrelease predation on endangered black-footed ferrets

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Poessel, S.A.; Breck, S.W.; Biggins, D.E.; Livieri, T.M.; Crooks, K.R.; Angeloni, L.

    2011-01-01

    Predation can be a critical factor influencing recovery of endangered species. In most recovery efforts lethal and nonlethal influences of predators are not sufficiently understood to allow prediction of predation risk, despite its importance. We investigated whether landscape features could be used to model predation risk from coyotes (Canis latrans) and great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) on the endangered black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes). We used location data of reintroduced ferrets from 3 sites in South Dakota to determine whether exposure to landscape features typically associated with predators affected survival of ferrets, and whether ferrets considered predation risk when choosing habitat near perches potentially used by owls or near linear features predicted to be used by coyotes. Exposure to areas near likely owl perches reduced ferret survival, but landscape features potentially associated with coyote movements had no appreciable effect on survival. Ferrets were located within 90 m of perches more than expected in 2 study sites that also had higher ferret mortality due to owl predation. Densities of potential coyote travel routes near ferret locations were no different than expected in all 3 sites. Repatriated ferrets might have selected resources based on factors other than predator avoidance. Considering an easily quantified landscape feature (i.e., owl perches) can enhance success of reintroduction efforts for ferrets. Nonetheless, development of predictive models of predation risk and management strategies to mitigate that risk is not necessarily straightforward for more generalist predators such as coyotes. ?? 2011 American Society of Mammalogists.

  19. Production of coleopteran predators

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The research literature reveals moderate advances in technology to produce coleopteran predators especially lady beetles. We have several factitious prey/foods and insect-free artificial diets for polyphagous species. It might be more time and cost effective to develop artificial diet-based producti...

  20. Production of heteropteran predators

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This chapter treats several key aspects of rearing procedures for predatory bugs. The value of natural, factitious, and artificial foods for the major species used in biological control is reviewed. Whereas several types of factitious foods are routinely used in the production of heteropteran predat...

  1. Mammalian predator-prey interaction in a fragmented landscape: weasels and voles.

    PubMed

    Haapakoski, Marko; Sundell, Janne; Ylönen, Hannu

    2013-12-01

    The relationship between predators and prey is thought to change due to habitat loss and fragmentation, but patterns regarding the direction of the effect are lacking. The common prediction is that specialized predators, often more dependent on a certain habitat type, should be more vulnerable to habitat loss compared to generalist predators, but actual fragmentation effects are unknown. If a predator is small and vulnerable to predation by other larger predators through intra-guild predation, habitat fragmentation will similarly affect both the prey and the small predator. In this case, the predator is predicted to behave similarly to the prey and avoid open and risky areas. We studied a specialist predator's, the least weasel, Mustela nivalis nivalis, spacing behavior and hunting efficiency on bank voles, Myodes glareolus, in an experimentally fragmented habitat. The habitat consisted of either one large habitat patch (non-fragmented) or four small habitat patches (fragmented) with the same total area. The study was replicated in summer and autumn during a year with high avian predation risk for both voles and weasels. As predicted, weasels under radio-surveillance killed more voles in the non-fragmented habitat which also provided cover from avian predators during their prey search. However, this was only during autumn, when the killing rate was also generally high due to cold weather. The movement areas were the same for both sexes and both fragmentation treatments, but weasels of both sexes were more prone to take risks in crossing the open matrix in the fragmented treatment. Our results support the hypothesis that habitat fragmentation may increase the persistence of specialist predator and prey populations if predators are limited in the same habitat as their prey and they share the same risk from avian predation.

  2. Interactions between Multiple Recruitment Drivers: Post-Settlement Predation Mortality and Flow-Mediated Recruitment

    PubMed Central

    Knights, Antony M.; Firth, Louise B.; Walters, Keith

    2012-01-01

    Background Dispersal is a primary driver in shaping the future distribution of species in both terrestrial and marine systems. Physical transport by advection can regulate the distance travelled and rate of propagule supply to a habitat but post-settlement processes such as predation can decouple supply from recruitment. The effect of flow-mediated recruitment and predation on the recruitment success of an intertidal species, the eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica was evaluated in two-replicated field experiments. Two key crab species were manipulated to test predator identity effects on oyster mortality. Findings Recruitment was ∼58% higher in high flow compared to low flow, but predation masked those differences. Predation mortality was primarily attributed to the blue crab Callinectes sapidus, whilst the mud crab Panopeus herbstii had no effect on recruit mortality. Recruit mortality from predation was high when recruit densities were high, but when recruit density was low, predation effects were not seen. Under high recruitment (supply), predation determined maximum population size and in low flow environments, recruitment success is likely determined by a combination of recruitment and resource limitation but not predation. Conclusions Four processes are demonstrated: (1) Increases in flow rate positively affect recruitment success; (2) In high flow (recruitment) environments, resource availability is less important than predation; (3) predation is an important source of recruit mortality, but is dependent upon recruit density; and (4) recruitment and/or resource limitation is likely a major driver of population structure and functioning, modifying the interaction between predators and prey. Simultaneous testing of flow-mediated recruitment and predation was required to differentiate between the role of each process in determining population size. Our results reinforce the importance of propagule pressure, predation and post-settlement mortality as

  3. Mobbing calls signal predator category in a kin group-living bird species.

    PubMed

    Griesser, Michael

    2009-08-22

    Many prey species gather together to approach and harass their predators despite the associated risks. While mobbing, prey usually utter calls and previous experiments have demonstrated that mobbing calls can convey information about risk to conspecifics. However, the risk posed by predators also differs between predator categories. The ability to communicate predator category would be adaptive because it would allow other mobbers to adjust their risk taking. I tested this idea in Siberian jays Perisoreus infaustus, a group-living bird species, by exposing jay groups to mounts of three hawk and three owl species of varying risks. Groups immediately approached to mob the mount and uttered up to 14 different call types. Jays gave more calls when mobbing a more dangerous predator and when in the presence of kin. Five call types were predator-category-specific and jays uttered two hawk-specific and three owl-specific call types. Thus, this is one of the first studies to demonstrate that mobbing calls can simultaneously encode information about both predator category and the risk posed by a predator. Since antipredator calls of Siberian jays are known to specifically aim at reducing the risk to relatives, kin-based sociality could be an important factor in facilitating the evolution of predator-category-specific mobbing calls.

  4. Mobbing calls signal predator category in a kin group-living bird species

    PubMed Central

    Griesser, Michael

    2009-01-01

    Many prey species gather together to approach and harass their predators despite the associated risks. While mobbing, prey usually utter calls and previous experiments have demonstrated that mobbing calls can convey information about risk to conspecifics. However, the risk posed by predators also differs between predator categories. The ability to communicate predator category would be adaptive because it would allow other mobbers to adjust their risk taking. I tested this idea in Siberian jays Perisoreus infaustus, a group-living bird species, by exposing jay groups to mounts of three hawk and three owl species of varying risks. Groups immediately approached to mob the mount and uttered up to 14 different call types. Jays gave more calls when mobbing a more dangerous predator and when in the presence of kin. Five call types were predator-category-specific and jays uttered two hawk-specific and three owl-specific call types. Thus, this is one of the first studies to demonstrate that mobbing calls can simultaneously encode information about both predator category and the risk posed by a predator. Since antipredator calls of Siberian jays are known to specifically aim at reducing the risk to relatives, kin-based sociality could be an important factor in facilitating the evolution of predator-category-specific mobbing calls. PMID:19474047

  5. Prey-predator system with parental care for predators.

    PubMed

    Wang, Wendi; Takeuchi, Yasuhiro; Saito, Yasuhisa; Nakaoka, Shinji

    2006-08-07

    A stage structure is incorporated into a prey-predator model in which predators are split into immature predators and mature predators. It is assumed that immature predators are raised by their parents in the sense that they cannot catch the prey and their foods are provided by parents. Further, it is assumed that the maturation rate of immature predators is a function of the food availability for one immature individual. It is found that the model admits periodic solutions which are produced from the stage structure. Further, it is shown that two stability switches of positive equilibria may occur due to the transition rate incorporating the influence of nutrient, and that the enrichment of adult predators may lead to the catastrophe of the ecological system.

  6. The sensitive hare: sublethal effects of predator stress on reproduction in snowshoe hares.

    PubMed

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

    2009-11-01

    1. Prey responses to high predation risk can be morphological or behavioural and ultimately come at the cost of survival, growth, body condition, or reproduction. These sub-lethal predator effects have been shown to be mediated by physiological stress. We tested the hypothesis that elevated glucocorticoid concentrations directly cause a decline in reproduction in individual free-ranging female snowshoe hares, Lepus americanus. We measured the cortisol concentration from each dam (using a faecal analysis enzyme immunoassay) and her reproductive output (litter size, offspring birth mass, offspring right hind foot (RHF) length) 30 h after birth. 2. In a natural monitoring study, we monitored hares during the first and second litter from the population peak (2006) to the second year of the decline (2008). We found that faecal cortisol metabolite (FCM) concentration in dams decreased 52% from the first to the second litter. From the first to the second litter, litter size increased 122%, offspring body mass increased 130%, and offspring RHF length increased 112%. Dam FCM concentrations were inversely related to litter size (r(2) = 0.19), to offspring birth mass (r(2) = 0.32), and to offspring RHF length (r(2) = 0.64). 3. In an experimental manipulation, we assigned wild-caught, pregnant hares to a control and a stressed group and held them in pens. Hares in the stressed group were exposed to a dog 1-2 min every other day before parturition to simulate high predation risk. At parturition, unsuccessful-stressed dams (those that failed to give birth to live young) and stressed dams had 837% and 214%, respectively, higher FCM concentrations than control dams. Of those females that gave birth, litter size was similar between control and stressed dams. However, offspring from stressed dams were 37% lighter and 16% smaller than offspring from control dams. Increasing FCM concentration in dams caused the decline of offspring body mass (r(2) = 0.57) and RHF (r(2) = 0.52). 4

  7. Endocrine regulation of predator-induced phenotypic plasticity.

    PubMed

    Dennis, Stuart R; LeBlanc, Gerald A; Beckerman, Andrew P

    2014-11-01

    Elucidating the developmental and genetic control of phenotypic plasticity remains a central agenda in evolutionary ecology. Here, we investigate the physiological regulation of phenotypic plasticity induced by another organism, specifically predator-induced phenotypic plasticity in the model ecological and evolutionary organism Daphnia pulex. Our research centres on using molecular tools to test among alternative mechanisms of developmental control tied to hormone titres, receptors and their timing in the life cycle. First, we synthesize detail about predator-induced defenses and the physiological regulation of arthropod somatic growth and morphology, leading to a clear prediction that morphological defences are regulated by juvenile hormone and life-history plasticity by ecdysone and juvenile hormone. We then show how a small network of genes can differentiate phenotype expression between the two primary developmental control pathways in arthropods: juvenoid and ecdysteroid hormone signalling. Then, by applying an experimental gradient of predation risk, we show dose-dependent gene expression linking predator-induced plasticity to the juvenoid hormone pathway. Our data support three conclusions: (1) the juvenoid signalling pathway regulates predator-induced phenotypic plasticity; (2) the hormone titre (ligand), rather than receptor, regulates predator-induced developmental plasticity; (3) evolution has favoured the harnessing of a major, highly conserved endocrine pathway in arthropod development to regulate the response to cues about changing environments (risk) from another organism (predator).

  8. Social deprivation affects cooperative predator inspection in a cichlid fish

    PubMed Central

    Hesse, Saskia; Anaya-Rojas, Jaime M.; Frommen, Joachim G.; Thünken, Timo

    2015-01-01

    The social environment individuals are exposed to during ontogeny shapes social skills and social competence in group-living animals. Consequently, social deprivation has serious effects on behaviour and development in animals but little is known about its impact on cooperation. In this study, we examined the effect of social environment on cooperative predator inspection. Predator inspection behaviour is a complex behaviour, which is present in a variety of shoaling fish species. Often, two fish leave the safety of the group and inspect a potentially dangerous predator in order to gather information about the current predation risk. As predator inspection is highly risky, it is prone to conflicts and cheating. However, cooperation among individuals may reduce the individual predation risk. We investigated this complex social behaviour in juveniles of the cichlid fish Pelvicachromis taeniatus that were reared in two different social environments throughout development. Fish reared in a group inspected more often than isolation-reared fish and were more likely to cooperate, i.e. they conducted conjoint inspection of a predator. By contrast, isolation-reared fish were more likely to perform a single inspection without a companion. These results suggest an impairment of cooperative behaviour in isolation-reared fish most probably due to lack of social experience and resulting in lowered social skills needed in coordinated behaviour. PMID:26064616

  9. Survival of the Stillest: Predator Avoidance in Shark Embryos

    PubMed Central

    Kempster, Ryan M.; Hart, Nathan S.; Collin, Shaun P.

    2013-01-01

    Sharks use highly sensitive electroreceptors to detect the electric fields emitted by potential prey. However, it is not known whether prey animals are able to modulate their own bioelectrical signals to reduce predation risk. Here, we show that some shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum) embryos can detect predator-mimicking electric fields and respond by ceasing their respiratory gill movements. Despite being confined to the small space within the egg case, where they are vulnerable to predators, embryonic sharks are able to recognise dangerous stimuli and react with an innate avoidance response. Knowledge of such behaviours, may inform the development of effective shark repellents. PMID:23326342

  10. Evolution of prey behavior in response to changes in predation regime: damselflies in fish and dragonfly lakes.

    PubMed

    Stoks, R; McPeek, M A; Mitchell, J L

    2003-03-01

    In a large behavioral experiment we reconstructed the evolution of behavioral responses to predators to explore how interactions with predators have shaped the evolution of their prey's behavior. All Enallagma damselfly species reduced both movement and feeding in the presence of coexisting predators. Some Enallagma species inhabit water bodies with both fish and dragonflies, and these species responded to the presence of both predators, whereas other Enallagma species inhabit water bodies that have only large dragonflies as predators, and these species only responded to the presence of dragonflies. Lineages that shifted to live with large dragonflies showed no evolution in behaviors expressed in the presence of dragonflies, but they evolved greater movement in the absence of predators and greater movement and feeding in the presence of fish. These results suggest that Enallagma species have evolutionarily lost the ability to recognize fish as a predator. Because species coexisting with only dragonfly predators have also evolved the ability to escape attacking dragonfly predators by swimming, the decreased predation risk associated with foraging appears to have shifted the balance of the foraging/predation risk trade-off to allow increased activity in the absence of mortality threats to evolve in these lineages. Our results suggest that evolution in response to changes in predation regime may have greater consequences for characters expressed in the absence of mortality threats because of how the balance between the conflicting demands of growth and predation risk are altered.

  11. Predator odor recognition and antipredatory response in fish: does the prey know the predator diel rhythm?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ylönen, Hannu; Kortet, Raine; Myntti, Janne; Vainikka, Anssi

    2007-01-01

    We studied in a laboratory experiment using stream tanks if two percid prey fish, the perch ( Perca fluviatilis) and the ruffe ( Gymnocephalus cernuus), can recognize and respond to increased predation risk using odors of two piscivores, the pike ( Esox lucius) and the burbot ( Lota lota). Burbot is night-active most of the year but pike hunts predominantly visually whenever there is enough light. Perch is a common day-active prey of pike and dark-active ruffe that of burbot. We predicted that besides recognizing the predator odors, the prey species would respond more strongly to odors of the predator which share the same activity pattern. Both perch and ruffe clearly responded to both predator fish odors. They decreased movements and erected the spiny dorsal fins. Fin erection showed clearly the black warning ornamentation in the fin and thus erected fin may function besides as mechanical defense also as warning ornament for an approaching predator. No rapid escape movements were generally observed. Both perch and ruffe responded more strongly to pike odor than to burbot. There were no clear differences in response between day and night. In conclusion, we were able to verify clear predator odor recognition by both prey fish. Both perch and ruffe responded to both predator odors and it seemed that pike forms a stronger threat for both prey species. Despite of diel activity differences both perch and ruffe used the same antipredatory strategies, but the day-active perch seemed to have a more flexible antipredatory behavior by responding more strongly to burbot threat during the night when burbot is active.

  12. Weed manipulation for insect pest management in corn

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Altieri, M. A.; Whitcomb, W. H.

    1980-11-01

    Populations of insect pests and associated predaceous arthropods were sampled by direct observation and other relative methods in simple and diversified corn habitats at two sites in north Florida during 1978 and 1979. Through various cultural manipulations, characteristic weed communities were established selectively in alternate rows within corn plots. Fall armyworm ( Spodoptera frugiperda J. E. Smith) incidence was consistently higher in the weed-free habitats than in the corn habitats containing natural weed complexes or selected weed associations. Corn earworm ( Heliothis zea Boddie) damage was similar in all weed-free and weedy treatments, suggesting that this insect is not affected greatly by weed diversity. Only the diversification of corn with a strip of soybean significantly reduced corn earworm damage. In one site, distance between plots was reduced. Because predators moved freely between habitats, it was difficult to identify between-treatment differences in the composition of predator communities. In the other site, increased distances between plots minimized such migrations, resulting in greater population densities and diversity of common foliage insect predators in the weed-manipulated corn systems than in the weed-free plots. Trophic relationships in the weedy habitats were more complex than food webs in monocultures. Predator diversity (measured as mean number of species per area) and predator density was higher in com plots surrounded by mature, complex vegetation than at those surrounded by annual crops. This suggests that diverse adjacent areas to crops provide refuge for predators, thus acting as colonization sources.

  13. Evolution of juvenile growth rates in female guppies (Poecilia reticulata): predator regime or resource level?

    PubMed

    Arendt, Jeffrey D; Reznick, David N

    2005-02-07

    Recent theoretical and empirical work argues that growth rate can evolve and be optimized, rather than always being maximized. Chronically low resource availability is predicted to favour the evolution of slow growth, whereas attaining a size-refuge from mortality risk is predicted to favour the evolution of rapid growth. Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) evolve differences in behaviour, morphology and life-history traits in response to predation, thus demonstrating that predators are potent agents of selection. Predators in low-predation environments prey preferentially on small guppies, but those in high-predation environments appear to be non-selective. Because guppies can outgrow their main predator in low- but not high-predation localities, we predict that predation will select for higher growth rates in the low-predation environments.However, low-predation localities also tend to have lower productivity than high-predation localities, yield-ing the prediction that guppies from these sites should have slower growth rates. Here we compare the growth rates of the second laboratory-born generation of guppies from paired high- and low-predation localities from four different drainages. In two out of four comparisons, guppies from high-predation sites grew significantly faster than their low-predation counterparts. We also compare laboratory born descendants from a field introduction experiment and show that guppies introduced to a low-predation environment evolved slower growth rates after 13 years, although this was evident only at the high food level. The weight of the evidence suggests that resource availability plays a more important role than predation in shaping the evolution of growth rates.

  14. Reduction in predator defense in the presence of neighbors in a colonial fish.

    PubMed

    Schädelin, Franziska C; Fischer, Stefan; Wagner, Richard H

    2012-01-01

    Predation pressure has long been considered a leading explanation of colonies, where close neighbors may reduce predation via dilution, alarming or group predator attacks. Attacking predators may be costly in terms of energy and survival, leading to the question of how neighbors contribute to predator deterrence in relationship to each other. Two hypotheses explaining the relative efforts made by neighbors are byproduct-mutualism, which occurs when breeders inadvertently attack predators by defending their nests, and reciprocity, which occurs when breeders deliberately exchange predator defense efforts with neighbors. Most studies investigating group nest defense have been performed with birds. However, colonial fish may constitute a more practical model system for an experimental approach because of the greater ability of researchers to manipulate their environment. We investigated in the colonial fish, Neolamprologus caudopunctatus, whether prospecting pairs preferred to breed near conspecifics or solitarily, and how breeders invested in anti-predator defense in relation to neighbors. In a simple choice test, prospecting pairs selected breeding sites close to neighbors versus a solitary site. Predators were then sequentially presented to the newly established test pairs, the previously established stimulus pairs or in between the two pairs. Test pairs attacked the predator eight times more frequently when they were presented on their non-neighbor side compared to between the two breeding sites, where stimulus pairs maintained high attack rates. Thus, by joining an established pair, test pairs were able to reduce their anti-predator efforts near neighbors, at no apparent cost to the stimulus pairs. These findings are unlikely to be explained by reciprocity or byproduct-mutualism. Our results instead suggest a commensal relationship in which new pairs exploit the high anti-predator efforts of established pairs, which invest similarly with or without neighbors

  15. Predator-prey coevolution: Australian native bees avoid their spider predators.

    PubMed

    Heiling, A M; Herberstein, M E

    2004-05-07

    Australian crab spiders Thomisus spectabilis manipulate visual flower signals to lure introduced Apis mellifera. We gave Australian native bees, Austroplebia australis, the choice between two white daisies, Chrysanthemum frutescens, one of them occupied by a crab spider. The colour contrast between flowers and spiders affected the behaviour of native bees. Native bees approached spider-occupied flowers more frequently. However, native bees avoided flowers occupied by spiders and landed on vacant flowers more frequently. In contrast to honeybees that did not coevolve with T. spectabilis, Australian native bees show an anti-predatory response to avoid flowers occupied by this predator.

  16. Predator-prey interactions, flight initiation distance and brain size.

    PubMed

    Møller, A P; Erritzøe, J

    2014-01-01

    Prey avoid being eaten by assessing the risk posed by approaching predators and responding accordingly. Such an assessment may result in prey-predator communication and signalling, which entail further monitoring of the predator by prey. An early antipredator response may provide potential prey with a selective advantage, although this benefit comes at the cost of disturbance in terms of lost foraging opportunities and increased energy expenditure. Therefore, it may pay prey to assess approaching predators and determine the likelihood of attack before fleeing. Given that many approaching potential predators are detected visually, we hypothesized that species with relatively large eyes would be able to detect an approaching predator from afar. Furthermore, we hypothesized that monitoring of predators by potential prey relies on evaluation through information processing by the brain. Therefore, species with relatively larger brains for their body size should be better able to monitor the intentions of a predator, delay flight for longer and hence have shorter flight initiation distances than species with smaller brains. Indeed, flight initiation distances increased with relative eye size and decreased with relative brain size in a comparative study of 107 species of birds. In addition, flight initiation distance increased independently with size of the cerebellum, which plays a key role in motor control. These results are consistent with cognitive monitoring as an antipredator behaviour that does not result in the fastest possible, but rather the least expensive escape flights. Therefore, antipredator behaviour may have coevolved with the size of sense organs, brains and compartments of the brain involved in responses to risk of predation.

  17. Predator Avoidance in Extremophile Fish

    PubMed Central

    Bierbach, David; Schulte, Matthias; Herrmann, Nina; Zimmer, Claudia; Arias-Rodriguez, Lenin; Indy, Jeane Rimber; Riesch, Rüdiger; Plath, Martin

    2013-01-01

    Extreme habitats are often characterized by reduced predation pressures, thus representing refuges for the inhabiting species. The present study was designed to investigate predator avoidance of extremophile populations of Poecilia mexicana and P. sulphuraria that either live in hydrogen sulfide-rich (sulfidic) springs or cave habitats, both of which are known to have impoverished piscine predator regimes. Focal fishes that inhabited sulfidic springs showed slightly weaker avoidance reactions when presented with several naturally occurring predatory cichlids, but strongest differences to populations from non-sulfidic habitats were found in a decreased shoaling tendency with non-predatory swordtail (Xiphophorus hellerii) females. When comparing avoidance reactions between P. mexicana from a sulfidic cave (Cueva del Azufre) and the adjacent sulfidic surface creek (El Azufre), we found only slight differences in predator avoidance, but surface fish reacted much more strongly to the non-predatory cichlid Vieja bifasciata. Our third experiment was designed to disentangle learned from innate effects of predator recognition. We compared laboratory-reared (i.e., predator-naïve) and wild-caught (i.e., predator-experienced) individuals of P. mexicana from a non-sulfidic river and found no differences in their reaction towards the presented predators. Overall, our results indicate (1) that predator avoidance is still functional in extremophile Poecilia spp. and (2) that predator recognition and avoidance reactions have a strong genetic basis. PMID:25371337

  18. Opposite shifts in size at metamorphosis in response to larval and metamorph predators.

    PubMed

    Vonesh, James R; Warkentin, Karen M

    2006-03-01

    Predation risk can cause organisms to alter the timing of life history switch points. Theory suggests that increased risk in an early life stage should select for switching earlier and smaller, while increased risk in the subsequent stage should select for switching later and larger. This framework has frequently been applied to metamorphosis in amphibians, with mixed results. Few studies examining the effect of larval predation risk on metamorphosis have observed the predicted pattern, and no studies, to our knowledge, have examined the effect of increased risk during and after metamorphosis on the timing of this switch point. Here we examine the effect of larval and post-metamorphic predation risk on metamorphosis in the red-eyed treefrog, Agalychnis callidryas. We raised tadpoles in the presence or absence of cues from caged water bugs fed larvae and cues from spiders fed emerging metamorphs. Water bugs are effective larval predators, while spiders are poor larval predators but prey on metamorphs. Furthermore, since spiders forage on the water surface it is possible that tadpoles could assess future risk from this predator. Predators induced opposite shifts in life history. Tadpoles emerged smaller and less developed in response to water bugs, but later and larger in response to spiders. Interestingly, predator effects on larval duration were not independent; tadpoles delayed emerging in response to spiders, but only in the absence of water bugs.

  19. Owl predation on snowshoe hares: consequences of antipredator behaviour.

    PubMed

    Rohner, Christoph; Krebs, Charles J

    1996-10-01

    We show evidence of differential predation on snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) by great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) and ask whether predation mortality is related to antipredator behaviour in prey. We predicted higher predation on (1) young and inexperienced hares, (2) hares in open habitats lacking cover to protect from owl predation, and (3) hares in above average condition assuming that rich food patches are under highest risk of predation. Information on killed hares was obtained at nest sites of owls and by monitoring hares using radio-telemetry. The availability of age classes within the hare population was established from live-trapping and field data on reproduction and survival. Great horned owls preferred juvenile over adult hares. Juveniles were more vulnerable to owl predation before rather than after dispersal, suggesting that displacement or increased mobility were not causes for this increased mortality. Owls killed ratio-collared hares more often in open than in closed forest types, and they avoided or had less hunting success in habitats with dense shrub cover. Also, owls took hares in above average condition, although it is unclear whether samples from early spring are representative for other seasons. In conclusion, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that variation in antipredator behaviours of snowshoe hares leads to differential predation by great horned owls.

  20. Predator-induced changes of female mating preferences: innate and experiential effects

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background In many species males face a higher predation risk than females because males display elaborate traits that evolved under sexual selection, which may attract not only females but also predators. Females are, therefore, predicted to avoid such conspicuous males under predation risk. The present study was designed to investigate predator-induced changes of female mating preferences in Atlantic mollies (Poecilia mexicana). Males of this species show a pronounced polymorphism in body size and coloration, and females prefer large, colorful males in the absence of predators. Results In dichotomous choice tests predator-naïve (lab-reared) females altered their initial preference for larger males in the presence of the cichlid Cichlasoma salvini, a natural predator of P. mexicana, and preferred small males instead. This effect was considerably weaker when females were confronted visually with the non-piscivorous cichlid Vieja bifasciata or the introduced non-piscivorous Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). In contrast, predator experienced (wild-caught) females did not respond to the same extent to the presence of a predator, most likely due to a learned ability to evaluate their predators' motivation to prey. Conclusions Our study highlights that (a) predatory fish can have a profound influence on the expression of mating preferences of their prey (thus potentially affecting the strength of sexual selection), and females may alter their mate choice behavior strategically to reduce their own exposure to predators. (b) Prey species can evolve visual predator recognition mechanisms and alter their mate choice only when a natural predator is present. (c) Finally, experiential effects can play an important role, and prey species may learn to evaluate the motivational state of their predators. PMID:21726456

  1. Invertebrate predation selects for the loss of a morphological antipredator trait.

    PubMed

    Mikolajewski, Dirk Johannes; Johansson, Frank; Wohlfahrt, Bianca; Stoks, Robby

    2006-06-01

    Antagonistic selection by different predators has been suggested to underlie variation in morphological antipredator traits among and within species. Direct empirical proof is equivocal, however, given the potential interrelationships of morphological and behavioral traits. Here, we tested whether spines in larvae of the dragonfly Leucorrhinia caudalis, which are selected for by fish predators, are selected against by invertebrate aeshnid predators. Using a manipulative approach by cutting spines instead of making comparisons among species or inducing spines, we were able to decouple the presence of spines from other potentially covarying morphological antipredator traits. Results showed survival selection for the loss of spines imposed by invertebrate predation. Moreover, spined and nonspined larval L. caudalis did not differ in the key antipredator behaviors, activity level, and escape burst swimming speed. The observed higher mortality of spined larvae can therefore be directly linked to selection by aeshnid predation against spines.

  2. Relative importance of predators and parasitoids for cereal aphid control.

    PubMed Central

    Schmidt, Martin H; Lauer, Andreas; Purtauf, Tobias; Thies, Carsten; Schaefer, Matthias; Tscharntke, Teja

    2003-01-01

    Field experiments with manipulations of natural enemies of plant-feeding insects may show how a diverse enemy group ensures an important ecosystem function such as naturally occurring biological pest control. We studied cereal aphid populations in winter wheat under experimentally reduced densities of: (i) ground-dwelling generalist predators (mostly spiders, carabid and staphylinid beetles); (ii) flying predators (coccinellid beetles, syrphid flies, gall midges, etc.) and parasitoids (aphidiid wasps), and a combination of (i) and (ii), compared with open controls. Aphid populations were 18% higher at reduced densities of ground-dwelling predators, 70% higher when flying predators and parasitoids were removed, and 172% higher on the removal of both enemy groups. Parasitoid wasps probably had the strongest effect, as flying predators occurred only in negligible densities. The great importance of parasitism is a new finding for aphid control in cereal fields. In conclusion, a more detailed knowledge of the mechanisms of natural pest control would help to develop environmentally sound crop management with reduced pesticide applications. PMID:14561303

  3. Impacts of Size Structure on Intraguild Predation in Pond Communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crumrine, P. W.

    2005-05-01

    Size structure, the degree to which individuals in a population vary in size, can greatly influence the dynamics of intraguild predation (IGP) within ecological communities. I manipulated the degree of size structure within assemblages of IG predators and IG prey to examine impacts on the direction and intensity of IGP in communities of larval dragonflies and larval water beetles. In pond enclosure studies, Pachydiplax longipennis (IG prey) mortality was lower when exposed to size structured assemblages of Anax junius (IG predator) than when exposed to only large A. junius at the same density. Effects of size-structured assemblages of A. junius on shared prey, Ischnura verticalis, were similar to the effects each size class alone at the same density. Separate experiments with Dytiscid water beetle larvae as IG predators and size-structured assemblages of A. junius as IG prey suggest that IG prey size structure plays only a limited role in mediating shared prey survival. These experiments highlight the importance of size structure as a characteristic that may promote the coexistence of predators in IGP systems.

  4. Bat predation by spiders.

    PubMed

    Nyffeler, Martin; Knörnschild, Mirjam

    2013-01-01

    In this paper more than 50 incidences of bats being captured by spiders are reviewed. Bat-catching spiders have been reported from virtually every continent with the exception of Antarctica (≈ 90% of the incidences occurring in the warmer areas of the globe between latitude 30° N and 30° S). Most reports refer to the Neotropics (42% of observed incidences), Asia (28.8%), and Australia-Papua New Guinea (13.5%). Bat-catching spiders belong to the mygalomorph family Theraphosidae and the araneomorph families Nephilidae, Araneidae, and Sparassidae. In addition to this, an attack attempt by a large araneomorph hunting spider of the family Pisauridae on an immature bat was witnessed. Eighty-eight percent of the reported incidences of bat catches were attributable to web-building spiders and 12% to hunting spiders. Large tropical orb-weavers of the genera Nephila and Eriophora in particular have been observed catching bats in their huge, strong orb-webs (of up to 1.5 m diameter). The majority of identifiable captured bats were small aerial insectivorous bats