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Restricting prey dispersal can overestimate the importance of predation in trophic cascades

Geraldi, Nathan R. and Macreadie, Peter I. 2013, Restricting prey dispersal can overestimate the importance of predation in trophic cascades, PLoS one, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 1-9, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055100.

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Title Restricting prey dispersal can overestimate the importance of predation in trophic cascades
Author(s) Geraldi, Nathan R.
Macreadie, Peter I.ORCID iD for Macreadie, Peter I. orcid.org/0000-0001-7362-0882
Journal name PLoS one
Volume number 8
Issue number 2
Article ID e55100
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Franciso, Calif.
Publication date 2013
ISSN 1932-6203
Summary Predators can affect prey populations and, via trophic cascades, predators can indirectly impact resource populations (2 trophic levels below the predator) through consumption of prey (density-mediated indirect effects; DMIEs) and by inducing predator-avoidance behavior in prey (trait-mediated indirect effects; TMIEs). Prey often employ multiple predator-avoidance behaviors, such as dispersal or reduced foraging activity, but estimates of TMIEs are usually on individual behaviors. We assessed direct and indirect predator effects in a mesocosm experiment using a marine food chain consisting of a predator (toadfish--Opsanus tau), prey (mud crab--Panopeus herbstii) and resource (ribbed musse--Geukensia demissa). We measured dispersal and foraging activity of prey separately by manipulating both the presence and absence of the predator, and whether prey could or could not disperse into a predator-free area. Consumption of prey was 9 times greater when prey could not disperse, probably because mesocosm boundaries increased predator capture success. Although predator presence did not significantly affect the number of crabs that emigrated, the presence of a predator decreased resource consumption by prey, which resulted in fewer resources consumed for each prey that emigrated in the presence of a predator, and reduced the overall TMIE. When prey were unable to disperse, TMIEs on mussel survival were 3 times higher than the DMIEs. When prey were allowed to disperse, the TMIEs on resource survival increased to 11-times the DMIEs. We found that restricting the ability of prey to disperse, or focusing on only one predator-avoidance behavior, may be underestimating TMIEs. Our results indicate that the relative contribution of behavior and consumption in food chain dynamics will depend on which predator-avoidance behaviors are allowed to occur and measured.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0055100
Field of Research 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology)
060801 Animal Behaviour
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2013, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30076235

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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 8 times in TR Web of Science
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus
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Created: Fri, 21 Aug 2015, 15:00:50 EST

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.