skip to main content

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1736943

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    A narrative in ecology is that prey modify traits to reduce predation risk, and the trait modification has costs large enough to cause ensuing demographic, trophic and ecosystem consequences, with implications for conservation, management and agriculture. But ecology has a long history of emphasising that quantifying the importance of an ecological process ultimately requires evidence linking a process to unmanipulated field patterns. We suspected that such process‐linked‐to‐pattern (PLP) studies were poorly represented in the predation risk literature, which conflicts with the confidence often given to the importance of risk effects. We reviewed 29 years of the ecological literature which revealed that there are well over 4000 articles on risk effects. Of those, 349 studies examined risk effects on prey fitness measures or abundance (i.e., non‐consumptive effects) of which only 26 were PLP studies, while 275 studies examined effects on other interacting species (i.e., trait‐mediated indirect effects) of which only 35 were PLP studies. PLP studies were narrowly focused taxonomically and included only three that examined unmanipulated patterns of prey abundance. Before concluding a widespread and influential role of predation‐risk effects, more attention must be given to linking the process of risk effects to unmanipulated patterns observed across diverse ecosystems.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    The ability to predict how predators structure ecosystems has been shown to depend on identifying both consumptive effects (CEs) and nonconsumptive effects (NCEs) of predators on prey fitness. Prey populations may also be affected by interactions between multiple predators across life stages of the prey and by environmental factors such as disturbance. However, the intersection of these multiple drivers of prey dynamics has yet to be empirically evaluated. We addressed this knowledge gap using eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica), a species known to suffer NCEs, as the focal prey. Over 4 months, we manipulated orthogonally the life stage (none, juvenile, adult, or both) at which oysters experienced simulated predation (CE) and exposure to olfactory cues of a juvenile oyster predator (crab), adult predator (conch), sequentially the crab and then the conch, or none. We replicated this experiment at three sites along an environmental gradient in a Florida (USA) estuary. For both juvenile and adult oysters, survival was reduced solely by CEs, and variation in growth was best explained by among‐site variation in water flow, with a much smaller and negative effect of predator cue. Adults exposed to conch cue exhibited reduced growth (an NCE), but this effect was outweighed by a positive CE on growth: Surviving oysters grew faster at lower densities. Finally, conch cue reduced larval settlement (another NCE), but this was swamped by among‐site variation in larval supply. This research highlights how strong environmental gradients and predator CEs may outweigh the influence of NCEs, even in prey known to respond to predator cues. These findings serve as a cautionary tale for the importance of evaluating NCE processes over temporal scales and across environmental gradients relevant to prey demography.

    more » « less