Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Kinds of Prey

  • alternative prey
  • aposematic prey
  • available prey
  • benthic prey
  • different prey
  • elusive prey
  • fish prey
  • important prey
  • insect prey
  • invertebrate prey
  • large prey
  • larger prey
  • live prey
  • main prey
  • major prey
  • mammal prey
  • potential prey
  • prefer prey
  • primary prey
  • quality prey
  • small prey
  • ungulate prey
  • wild prey
  • zooplankton prey

  • Terms modified by Prey

  • prey abundance
  • prey animals
  • prey availability
  • prey behaviour
  • prey biomass
  • prey body size
  • prey capture
  • prey choice
  • prey composition
  • prey condition
  • prey consumption
  • prey density
  • prey detection
  • prey diversity
  • prey dynamics
  • prey fish
  • prey interaction
  • prey item
  • prey location
  • prey model
  • prey organism
  • prey patch
  • prey population
  • prey population dynamics
  • prey preference
  • prey quality
  • prey resource
  • prey response
  • prey selection
  • prey size
  • prey species
  • prey system
  • prey taxa
  • prey type

  • Selected Abstracts


    EVOLUTION, Issue 6 2004
    Leena Lindström
    Abstract Both Batesian and Müllerian mimicries are considered classical evidence of natural selection where predation pressure has, at times, created a striking similarity between unrelated prey species. Batesian mimicry, in which palatable mimics resemble unpalatable aposematic species, is parasitic and only beneficial to the mimics. By contrast, in classical Müllerian mimicry the cost of predators' avoidance learning is shared between similar unpalatable co-mimics, and therefore mimicry benefits all parties. Recent studies using mathematical modeling have questioned the dynamics of Müllerian mimicry, suggesting that fitness benefits should be calculated in a way similar to Batesian mimicry; that is, according to the relative unpalatability difference between co-mimics. Batesian mimicry is very sensitive to the availability of alternative prey, but the effects of alternative prey for Müllerian dynamics are not known and experiments are rare. We designed two experiments to test the effect of alternative prey on imperfect Batesian and Müllerian mimicry complexes. When alternative prey were scarce, imperfect Batesian mimics were selected out from the population, but abundantly available alternative prey relaxed selection against imperfect mimics. Birds learned to avoid both Müllerian models and mimics irrespective of the availability of alternative prey. However, the rate of avoidance learning of models increased when alternative prey were abundant. This experiment suggests that the availability of alternative prey affects the dynamics of both Müllerian and Batesian mimicry, but in different ways. [source]


    Kelly J. Benoit-Bird
    Abstract Active-acoustic surveys were used to determine the distribution of dusky dolphins and potential prey in two different New Zealand locations. During seven survey days off Kaikoura Canyon, dusky dolphins were found within the DeepScattering Layer (DSL) at 2000 when it rose to within 125 m of the surface. As the DSL rose to 30 m at 0100, the observed depth of dolphins decreased, presumably as the dolphins followed the vertical migration of their prey. Acoustically identified subgroups of coordinated animals ranged from one to five dolphins. Time, depth of layer, and layer variance contributed significantly to predicting foraging dusky dolphin subgroup size. In the much shallower and more enclosed Admiralty Bay, dolphins noted at the surface as foraging were always detected with the sonar, but were never observed in coordinated subgroups during the brief (two-day) study there. In Admiralty Bay dolphin abundance was correlated with mean volume scattering from potential prey in the water column; and when volume scattering, an index of prey density, was low, dolphins were rarely present. Ecological differences between the deep waters of Kaikoura Canyon and the shallow nearshore waters of Admiralty Bay may result in differences in how, when, and in what social groupings dusky dolphins forage. [source]

    Prey switching in four species of carnivorous stoneflies

    FRESHWATER BIOLOGY, Issue 6 2004
    J. M. Elliott
    Summary 1. Previous studies compared the functional responses to their prey, and both intraspecific and interspecific interference, in mature larvae of Dinocras cephalotes, Perla bipunctata, Isoperla grammatica and Perlodes microcephalus. The present study examines switching by larvae of the same species presented with different proportions of two contrasting prey types; larvae of Baetis rhodani and Chironomus sp. In each experiment, 200 prey were arranged in nine different combinations of the two prey types (20 : 180, 40 : 160, 60 : 140, 80 : 120, 100 : 100, 120 : 80, 140 : 60, 160 : 40, 180 : 20). Prey were replaced as they were eaten. A model predicted the functional response in the absence of switching and provided a null hypothesis against which any tendency for switching could be tested. 2. No evidence for prey switching by Dinocras and Perla was obtained, both species showing a slight preference for Baetis over Chironomus. Prey switching occurred in Isoperla and Perlodes. As the relative abundance of one prey type increased in relation to the alternative, the proportion eaten of the former prey changed from less to more than expected from its availability, the relationship being described by an S-shaped curve. Isoperla and Perlodes switched to a preference for Baetis when its percentage of the total available prey exceeded 57 and 42%, respectively. Equivalent values for Chironomus were 43 and 58% for Isoperla and Perlodes, respectively. Switching was strongest in Perlodes. 3. Non-switching in Dinocras and Perla was related to their feeding strategy, both species being more successful when using a non-selective ambush strategy at dusk and dawn rather than a search strategy during the night. Both Isoperla and Perlodes used a search strategy. The smaller Isoperla fed chiefly at dusk and dawn, and preferred Chironomus larvae, whereas most of the larger Perlodes fed continuously from dusk to dawn and preferred Baetis larvae. [source]

    Invertebrate diet of the Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis [undulata] macqueenii in Abu Dhabi from calibrated faecal analysis

    IBIS, Issue 3 2000
    The ecology of the Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis [undulata] macqueenii is poorly known and populations are declining due to hunting and habitat loss. As wintering populations in Abu Dhabi may be limited by habitat and food, we studied the diet using calibrated faecal analysis. Prey were categorized into 16 groups and fed to captive birds under controlled conditions. We calculated the recovery rates of prey following digestion and identified consistent fragments for each group. Wild Houbara Bustard faeces were collected and examined for key fragments, and initial prey intake was calibrated. Plant remains were identified and their contribution was estimated. Fewer than 28% faeces contained >50% plant material by volume and only 12% contained 95% or more. Numerically, the most important prey were: ants (64%), large nocturnal tenebrionids (14.5%), small climbing tenebrionids (12%) and diurnal tenebrionids. However, the Tenebrionidae contributed 97% of the animal biomass. The relative proportions of prey in the diet were similar to relative abundance as assessed by pitfall trapping. Estimates of the energetic value of the prey suggested that on average Houbara Bustards must consume around 670 desert invertebrates/day to meet energy needs. The effort required to catch these prey may vary at least ten-fold seasonally. On average plants could provide a further 6.4,14% energy but more work is needed on this. Whether Houbara Bustards wintering in Abu Dhabi are prey-limited depends on prey densities and renewal rates which remain unknown. [source]

    Diet of young-of-the-year bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus (Linnaeus, 1758), in the southern Tyrrhenian (Mediterranean) Sea

    M. Sinopoli
    Summary The diet of juvenile bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) caught 2 to 8 miles off NE Sicily was investigated in order to improve knowledge of the species' early life history. From 1998 to 2000, 107 specimens ranging from 63 to 495 mm (total length) were fished between July and November. Fishes were caught by trolling line or purse seine in a Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) area 2 to 8 miles offshore and as by-catch of the purse-seine sardine fishery 2 to 4 miles offshore. Most frequently found items in the T. thynnus stomachs were fishes (84.5%), crustaceans (54.6%) and cephalopods (50.5%). The largest contribution in weight was provided by cephalopods (47.3%) and fishes (46.5%), while the most abundant items were fishes (51%), cephalopods (27.2%) and crustaceans (21.1%). These results suggest that young-of-the-year tuna have an essentially piscivorous diet, although invertebrate prey provide a substantial contribution to the food array. Prey show little relationship with FADs, although one prey species (blue runner, Caranx crysos) is associated with FADs in the Mediterranean. [source]

    Dietary specialization and climatic-linked variations in extant populations of Ethiopian wolves

    Jorgelina Marino
    Abstract Understanding of the biology of rarity is central to the conservation of some endangered species. Rare taxa are often reported to be specialized, but they are usually poorly studied. The Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) is endemic to the Ethiopian highlands and in two major populations, Bale and Arsi in the southern range of the species, it preys almost exclusively upon diurnal rodents all year round, mainly molerats Tachyoryctes macrocephalus and common molerats T. splendens, respectively. Where these large rodents are absent or rare, wolves are expected to rely more heavily on nocturnal rats or livestock. Prey remains in 161 scats from five newly studied populations confirmed that wolves are indeed specialist rodent hunters elsewhere, and that their narrow diets are dominated by diurnal Murinae rats (60,83% of prey occurrences). Swamp rats Otomys typus were the main prey, followed by grass rats Arvicanthis abyssinicus. Common molerats, Lophuromys rats and nocturnal Stenocephalemys spp. constituted the variable portion of the diets, and their proportional contributions varied across populations in relation to elevation and latitude. Towards the north, where the climate is drier and human populations more dense, wolves predate more frequently on rat-sized prey, including nocturnal species, with implications for the survival of small populations in the Northern Highlands. Résumé Pour la conservation de certaines espèces en danger, il est essentiel de bien comprendre la biologie de la rareté. On rapporte souvent que des taxons rares sont spécialisés, mais ils sont généralement peu étudiés. Le loup d'Ethiopie Canis simensis est endémique des hauts plateaux éthiopiens et deux populations majeures, Bale et Arsi, dans la partie sud de leur aire de répartition, se nourrissent toute l'année presque exclusivement de petits rongeurs diurnes, surtout des rats-taupes géants Tachyoryctes macrocephalus et, plus communs, des rats taupes des montagnes T. splendens. Là où ces rongeurs sont absents ou rares, on s'attend à ce que les loups se nourrissent davantage de rats nocturnes ou de bétail. Des restes de proies identifiées dans 161 crottes de cinq nouvelles populations étudiées récemment ont confirmé que les loups sont bien, ailleurs, des chasseurs spécialisés en rongeurs et que leur régime alimentaire peu varié est dominé par des Murinae diurnes (60,83% des proies observées). Les rats des marais Otomys typusétaient les proies principales, suivis par les rats des herbes Arvicanthis abyssinicus. Les rats-taupes communs, les rats Lophuromys et les nocturnes Stenocephalemys spp. constituaient des portions variables du menu, et la proportion de leur contribution variait pour les populations en fonction de l'elevation et de la latitude. Vers le nord, là où le climat est plus sec et où la population humaine est plus dense, les loups s'attaquent plus souvent à des proies de la taille des rats, y compris des espèces nocturnes, ce qui a des implications pour la survie des petites populations des hauts plateaux du nord. [source]

    Climate and landscape correlates of African lion (Panthera leo) demography

    Gastone G. Celesia
    Abstract Although many studies have documented aspects of lion ecology, they have generally focused on single sites, leaving broader-scaled factors unanalysed. We assessed range-wide effects of eight biotic and 26 abiotic variables on lion distribution and ecology, based on data compiled from published sources on lion population ecology in 27 protected areas in Africa. Lion pride size and composition were independent of lion density; lion density and home range size were inversely related; and lion density was positively related to rainfall, soil nutrients and annual mean temperature, with some interactive effects between rainfall and soil nutrients. Lion demography was associated most strongly with rainfall, temperature and landscape features. Herbivore biomass and lion density were correlated in univariate regression analyses. However, because herbivore biomass was also related to rainfall and temperature, hierarchical partitioning (HP) allowed us to evaluate independent effects of each variable on lion demography revealing that herbivore biomass had negligible independent contributions. HP indicated that climatic parameters explained 62% of overall variance in demographic parameters, whereas landscape features explained only 32%; climatic parameters were fairly balanced between effects of temperature (34%) and rainfall (28%). Prey (herbivore) biomass is important for lion survival, but its effects appear secondary to environmental factors. Résumé Bien que de nombreuses études apportent des informations sur des aspects de l'écologie des lions, elles se sont généralement focalisées sur des sites individuels, laissant de côté les facteurs à plus grande échelle. Nous avons analysé les effets à grande échelle de huit variables biotiques et de 26 variables abiotiques de la distribution et de l'écologie du lion, en nous fondant sur des données compilées à partir de publications portant sur l'écologie de populations de lions dans 27 aires protégées africaines. La taille et la composition des troupes de lions étaient indépendantes de leur densité; la densité et la taille du territoire des lions étaient inversement liées; et la densité des lions était directement liée aux chutes de pluies, aux nutriments du sol et à la moyenne annuelle des températures, certains effets interactifs étant observés entre les chutes de pluies et les nutriments du sol. La démographie des lions était surtout liée aux chutes de pluies, à la température et à certaines caractéristiques du paysage. La biomasse des herbivores et la densité des lions étaient liées dans les analyses de régressions univariées. Cependant, comme la biomasse des herbivores est aussi liée aux chutes de pluies et aux températures, la partition hiérarchique (PH) nous a permis d'évaluer les effets indépendants de chaque variable sur la démographie des lions, ce qui révèle que la biomasse des herbivores, prise indépendamment, représentait une contribution négligeable. La PH indiquait que les paramètres climatiques expliquaient 62% de la variance globale des paramètres démographiques, alors que les caractéristiques du paysage n'en expliquaient que 32%; les paramètres climatiques étaient en assez bon équilibre entre les effets de la température (34%) et ceux des chutes de pluies (28%). La biomasse des proies (herbivores) est importante pour la survie des lions, mais ses effets semblent secondaires par rapport à ceux des facteurs environnementaux. [source]

    Glowworms: a review of Arachnocampa spp. and kin

    V. B. Meyer-Rochow
    Abstract The term ,glowworm' is used in connection with the flightless females of lampyrid fireflies and to describe the luminescent larvae of certain fungus gnats that belong to the subfamilies Arachnocampinae, Keroplatinae and Macrocerinae of the dipteran family Keroplatidae. This review focuses on the luminescent larval fungus gnats. The weakly luminescent species of the Holarctic feed mainly on fungal spores, but some, such as Orfelia fultoni, have turned to a carnivorous diet. Larval Australian and New Zealand Arachnocampa spp. produce brighter in vivo (but not necessarily in vitro) lights, live in cool, damp and dark places and are exclusively predatory. They lure their prey (usually small flying insects) with the help of their blue-green light emissions towards snares consisting of vertical silk threads coated with sticky mucus droplets. Fungus gnats with similar ,fishing lines' are found in the Neotropics, but they are not luminescent. The larval stage is longest in the life cycle of Arachnocampa, lasting up to a year, depending on climatic conditions such as temperature and humidity as well as food supply. In A. luminosa, but not the Australian A. flava, female pupae and even female imagines are luminescent. However, it remains to be demonstrated whether it is the light of the female, a pheromone or both that attract the males. Light organs and the chemical reactions to produce light differ between the holarctic and the Australian/New Zealand species. Prey is attracted only by the glowworm's light; odours of the fishing lines or the glowworms themselves are not involved. Recognition of the prey by the glowworm involves mechano- and chemoreception. The eyes of both larval and adult glowworms are large and functional over a spectral range covering UV to green wavelengths. Adults are poor fliers, live only for a few days, have degenerate mouth parts and do not feed. Maintenance of glowworms in captivity is possible and the impact of tourism on glowworms in natural settings can be minimized through appropriate precautions. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

    Feeding ecology of a group of buffy-headed marmosets (Callithrix flaviceps): fungi as a preferred resource

    Renato R. Hilário
    Abstract Mycophagy is a relatively rare behavior in primates and has only been recorded in five callitrichid species. Here, we present data on the feeding ecology of a free-ranging group of Callithrix flaviceps, which was studied in the Augusto Ruschi Biological Reserve, Southeastern Brazil, in 2008. In contrast with other marmosets, which are typically gummivorous, the study group was predominantly mycophagous,insectivorous, with fungi corresponding to 64.8% of total feeding records, and gum (6.1%) and fruit (3.3%) together providing only a minor part of the diet. Prey corresponded to 25.8% of the group's diet. The fungi (Mycocitrus spp.) consumed by the marmosets were found attached to the stems of Merostachys bamboo. As the animal component of the group's diet was similar to that recorded in studies of other marmosets, we propose that fungi were exploited primarily as a substitute for plant material, in particular exudates. This highly mycophagous diet may be determined by two principal factors: (1) the abundance of fungi within the study area, and (2) the avoidance of bark gouging, for which C. flaviceps may be less specialized than most other marmosets. These conclusions are supported by comparisons with other marmoset groups, which indicate an ecological specialization for mycophagy in C. flaviceps, and that the species will resort to gummivory in habitats where fungi are scarce. Am. J. Primatol. 72:515,521, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

    Factors Affecting Preference Responses of the Freshwater Ciliate Uronema nigricans to Bacterial Prey

    ABSTRACT. To enhance our understanding of the factors affecting feeding selectivity of bacterivorous protists in aquatic systems, we examined the preference responses of the freshwater ciliate Uronema nigricans towards three bacterial prey taxa, Pseudomonas luteola, Serratia rubidaea, and Aeromonas hydrophila. Potential factors influencing the predator,prey contact rate included the previous feeding history of the ciliate and physiological state of bacteria. Preference indexes were obtained from multiple-choice mazes in which ciliates moved preferentially towards alternative bacteria or the prey species on which they had been feeding. Uronema nigricans showed differential attraction towards the offered prey types, and these preferences varied as a function of the ciliate feeding history: U. nigricans growing on P. luteola showed lower preference responses towards the offered bacteria than U. nigricans growing on S. rubidaea. The bacteria in stationary phase elicited a higher degree of attraction than bacteria in exponential phase, probably due to a higher concentration of carbohydrates in the former. Therefore, this protist will preferentially swim towards bacteria in stationary growth phase, although the degree of this response will be affected by the recent feeding history of the ciliate. [source]

    Chemical discrimination among predators by lizards: Responses of three skink species to the odours of high- and low-threat varanid predators

    AUSTRAL ECOLOGY, Issue 1 2009
    Abstract Animals must balance the benefits of predator avoidance with costs. Costs of predator avoidance, such as being forced to spend long periods inactive, should select for careful discrimination among predator species. Although prey responses to multiple predators have been well researched across many taxa, no studies have tested whether lizards discriminate among larger lizard predators. We examined the responses of three species of skink to two species of predatory goanna, one that occasionally consumes skinks, and the other a skink specialist. Three litter-dwelling, tropical skink species, Carlia rostralis, C. rubrigularis and C. storri, were given a choice between a retreat site treated with the odour of one of the goanna species, and an odourless control. The two goanna species used for stimulus scents were: Varanus tristis, a species that consumes skinks as a major proportion of its diet, and Varanus varius, a species that consumes skinks occasionally. Both goannas are broadly sympatric with all three skink species. Carlia rostralis and C. storri both avoided the scent of V. tristis, whereas C. rubrigularis did not. However, no skink species avoided the odour of V. varius. Prey are clearly able to avoid predators based on chemical cues, and can discriminate among similar predators that pose different levels of threat. [source]

    How to Spoil the Taste of Insect Prey?

    CHEMBIOCHEM, Issue 12 2010
    A Novel Feeding Deterrent against Ants Released by Larvae of the Alder Leaf Beetle, Agelastica alni
    Abstract Chemical defense of leaf beetle larvae (Chrysomelidae) against enemies is provided by secretions containing a wide range of deterrent compounds or by unpalatable hemolymph constituents. Here we report a new, very strong feeding deterrent against ants released by larvae of the alder leaf beetle Agelastica alni when attacked. The larvae release a defensive fluid from openings of pairwise, dorsolaterally located tubercles on the first to the eighth abdominal segments. The fluid, consisting of hemolymph and probably a glandular cell secretion, has previously been shown to contain a very stable, non-volatile feeding deterrent. The major deterrent component was isolated by repeated HPLC separation and analyzed by NMR and MS. The compound proved to be ,- L -glutamyl- L -2-furylalanine (1), a novel dipeptide containing the unusual amino acid L -2-furylalanine. This amino acid, although synthetically well known, has not previously been reported from natural sources. The absolute configuration of the natural compound was elucidated by enantioselective gas chromatography after derivatization. The structure of the dipeptide was verified by the synthesis of several isomeric dipeptides. In bioassays a concentration of 1 ,g,,L,1 was sufficient to deter polyphagous Myrmica rubra ants from feeding. [source]

    The predatory impact of the freshwater invader Dikerogammarus villosus on native Gammarus pulex (Crustacea: Amphipoda); influences of differential microdistribution and food resources

    JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, Issue 1 2005
    Calum MacNeil
    Abstract Predation between invading and native species can produce patterns of exclusion and coexistence. Dikerogammarus villosus, a Ponto-Caspian amphipod species, has invaded many central European freshwaters in the past decade, replacing native Gammarus amphipod species. For instance, the arrival of D. villosus in Holland has been accompanied by the decline of Gammarus duebeni and G. tigrinus populations within invaded systems. This study examined what may happen when D. villosus eventually encounters native Dutch populations of Gammarus pulex, and how factors such as microhabitat and food resource availability could contribute to a future species replacement or coexistence. A laboratory simulation of a lake/pooled area of river indicated that G. pulex and D. villosus differed in distribution within the same habitat, and showed that although the distribution of the native differed in the presence of the invader, the presence of the native had no effect on the distribution of the invader. Gammarus pulex suffered severe intraguild predation (IGP) from D. villosus in mixed species treatments with no reciprocal predation of D. villosus by G. pulex. This IGP occurred regardless of whether no alternative food resource was available (91% of the G. pulex population eliminated after 7 days), or alternative foods/prey were available to excess, such as leaf material (85%), chironomids (77%) or fish food flakes (74%). We conclude that although differential microdistribution of the two species could promote coexistence, the presence of alternative foods/prey resources, merely slow the rate of IGP and replacement of the native by the invader. Our study joins one of an increasing number emphasizing the potential damaging impacts of D. villosus on native communities. [source]

    Dietary specialization and infochemical use in carnivorous arthropods: testing a concept

    Johannes L. M. Steidle
    Abstract For the location of hosts and prey, insect carnivores (i.e., parasitoids or predators) often use infochemical cues that may originate from the host/prey itself but also from the food of the host/prey, a food plant, or another feeding substrate. These cues can be either specific for certain host/prey complexes or generally present in various complexes, and the reaction of the carnivores to these cues is either innate or learned. According to the concept on dietary specialization and infochemical use in natural enemies, the origin and specificity of the infochemical cues used and the innateness of the behavioural response are dependent on the degree of dietary specialization of the carnivore and its host/prey species. This concept has been widely adopted and has been frequently cited since its publication. Only few studies, however, have been explicitly designed to test predictions of the concept. Thus, more than 10 years after publication and despite of its broad acceptance, the general validity of the concept is still unclear. Using data from about 140 research papers on 95 species of parasitoids and predators, the present literature study comparatively scrutinises predictions from the concept. In accordance with the concept, learning to react to infochemicals and the use of general host and host plant cues was more often found in generalists than in specialists. In addition, more specialists were using specific infochemicals than generalists. In contrast to the concept, however, there was no significant difference between specialists and generalists in the proportion of carnivore species that use infochemicals during foraging and also extreme generalists are using infochemical cues for foraging. Likewise, an innate reaction to infochemicals was found in both specialists and generalists. Several reasons why infochemical use, including an innate reaction to infochemicals, is adaptive in generalist carnivores are discussed . We conclude that the concept has been a useful paradigm in advancing the chemical ecology of arthropod carnivores, but needs to be modified: the use of infochemicals is expected in all arthropod carnivores, regardless of dietary specialization. [source]

    Does Holling's disc equation explain the functional response of a kleptoparasite?

    R. W. G. Caldow
    Summary 1Type II functional responses, which can be described by Holling's disc equation, have been found in many studies of predator/prey and host/parasite interactions. However, an increasing number of studies have shown that the assumptions on which the disc equation is based do not necessarily hold. We examine the functional response of kleptoparasitically feeding Arctic skuas (Stercorarius parasiticus L.) to the abundance of fish-carrying auks and, by examination of the assumptions of the disc equation, test whether it can explain the function. 2The rate at which individual skuas make successful chases is a decelerating function of the abundance of auks. However, it would appear that this is not determined by factors that influence their probability of success, but by the rate at which they initiate chases. This too is a decelerating function of the abundance of auks. Arctic skuas have a Type II functional response. 3Although Arctic skuas exhibited a direct numerical response there was no evidence that components of predation connected to the density of predators (direct prey stealing, or increased host avoidance) had any effect on the rate at which individual skuas made chases or were successful in their chases. We conclude that the observed functional response is free from any effects of interference. 4We suggest that abnormally high levels of foraging effort expended by breeding skuas and their poor breeding success in the years of observation argue against the limit to the observed functional response being determined by skuas' energetic requirements. 5Several of the assumptions underlying the disc equation do not hold. The duration of chases (handling time) was not a constant; it decreased with increasing host abundance. Moreover, the chase duration predicted by the disc equation, if handling time limited the functional response, was far in excess of that observed. Furthermore, the observed rate of decline in the searching time per victim with increasing host abundance suggested that skuas' instantaneous rate of discovery was also not constant. Possible reasons for these observations are discussed. The basic disc equation may describe Arctic skuas' functional response, but it cannot explain it. [source]

    Assessing the Potential Impact of Cane Toads on Australian Snakes

    Anecdotal reports suggest that the invasion of toads into an area is followed by dramatic declines in the abundance of terrestrial native frog-eating predators, but quantitative studies have been restricted to nonpredator taxa or aquatic predators and have generally reported minimal impacts. Will toads substantially affect Australian snakes? Based on geographic distributions and dietary composition, we identified 49 snake taxa as potentially at risk from toads. The impact of these feral prey also depends on the snakes' ability to survive after ingesting toad toxins. Based on decrements in locomotor (swimming) performance after ingesting toxin, we estimate the LD50 of toad toxins for 10 of the at-risk snake species. Most species exhibited a similar low ability to tolerate toad toxins. Based on head widths relative to sizes of toads, we calculate that 7 of the 10 taxa could easily ingest a fatal dose of toxin in a single meal. The exceptions were two colubrid taxa (keelbacks [ Tropidonophis mairii] and slatey-grey snakes [ Stegonotus cucullatus]) with much higher resistance to toad toxins (up to 85-fold) and one elapid (swamp snakes [ Hemiaspis signata]) with low resistance but a small relative head size and thus low maximum prey size. Overall, our analysis suggests that cane toads threaten populations of approximately 30% of terrestrial Australian snake species. Resumen: Los sapos (Bufo marinus) son anuros grandes muy tóxicos que fueron introducidos a Australia en 1937. Reportes anecdóticos sugieren que la invasión de sapos a un área es seguida de declinaciones dramáticas en la abundancia de depredadores terrestres nativos que se alimentan de ranas, pero los estudios cuantitativos se han restringido a taxones no depredadores o a depredadores acuáticos y generalmente han indicado impactos mínimos. ¿Los sapos afectarán sustancialmente a las serpientes australianas? Basado en la distribución geográfica y la composición de la dieta, identificamos 49 taxones de serpientes como potencialmente en riesgo por los sapos. El impacto de estas presas también depende de la habilidad de las serpientes para sobrevivir después de ingerir toxinas, estimamos la LD50 de toxinas de sapo para 10 de las especies de serpientes "en riesgo." La mayoría de las especies presentaron la misma poca habilidad para tolerar toxinas de sapo. Tomando en cuenta la anchura del cráneo en relación al tamaño de los sapos, calculamos que 7 de las 10 especies podrían fácilmente ingerir una dosis letal en una sola comida. Las excepciones fueron dos taxones de colúbridos (Tropidonophis mairii y Stegonotus cucullatus) con mucha más resistencia (hasta 85 veces más) a toxinas de sapos y un elápido (Hemiaspis signata) con resistencia baja pero de tamaño cefálico relativamente pequeño (y por lo tanto, tamaño máximo de presa pequeño). En general, nuestro análisis sugiere que los sapos amenazan a 30% de las poblaciones de especies de serpientes terrestres de Australia aproximadamente. [source]

    The Late Prehistoric,Early Historic Game Sink in the Northwestern United States

    R. Lee Lyman
    The number of big game killed by the Corps of Discovery in 1805,1806 and recorded by Lewis and Clark suggests that ungulates were abundant in central and eastern Montana and rare in western Montana, central Idaho, and southeastern Washington during the early nineteenth century. Paleoecologists Paul Martin and Chris Szuter conclude that this difference was a function of human predation. They support their conclusion that ungulates would have been abundant in southeastern Washington had humans not hunted them by arguing that the nineteenth-century livestock industry was successful without supplemental feeding. The livestock industry was, however, not consistently successful until artificial feeding was initiated. Archaeological data from eastern Washington indicate that ungulates have been taken by human hunters more frequently than small-mammal prey throughout the last 10,000 years and that ungulates decreased relative to small mammals coincident with changes in climate. Bison ( Bison bison) and elk (Cervus canadensis) were present in eastern Washington throughout the Holocene, but bison were abundant there only during a cooler and moister period; elk have been abundant only in the twentieth century, subsequent to transplants and the extermination of predators. Geographic variation in the abundance of bison across Montana, Idaho, and eastern Washington has been influenced by human predation but has also been influenced by biogeographic history, habitat differences, and climatic change. Resumen: Los datos históricos proveen información valiosa sobre las estructuras de los ecosistemas, sus funciones y procesos. El número de animales de caza grandes que fueron sacrificados por las tropas de descubrimiento en 1805-1806 y registradas por Lewis y Clark sugieren que los ungulados eran abundantes en Montana central y oriental y raros en Montana occidental, Idaho central y el sudeste de Washington durante los inicios del siglo diecinueve. Los paleontólogos Paul Martin y Chris Szuter concluyen que esta diferencia fue causada por la depredación humana. Ellos apoyan su conclusión de que los ungulados podrían haber sido abundantes en el sudeste de Washington si los humanos no los hubieran cazado argumentando que la industria de la ganadería del siglo diecinueve exitosa sin alimento suplementario. Sin embargo, la industria de la ganadería no fue consistentemente exitosa hasta que se inició la alimentación artificial. Los datos arqueológicos de Washington oriental indican que los ungulados fueron eliminados por los cazadores humanos mas frecuentemente que las presas pequeñas de mamíferos a lo largo de los últimos 10,000 años y que la disminución de ungulados, relativa a la de mamíferos pequeños coincidió con cambios en el clima. El bisonte (Bison bison) y el alce (Cervus canadiensis) estuvieron presentes en Washington oriental a lo largo del Holoceno, pero los bisontes fueron abundantes solo durante un periodo mas frío y húmedo; los alces habían sido abundantes solo en el siglo veinte subsecuente a los transplantes y a la exterminación de los depredadores. La variación en la abundancia de alces a lo largo de Montana, Idaho y el oriente de Washington estuvo influenciada por la depredación humana, pero también por la historia biogeográfica, las diferencias en hábitat y el cambio climático. [source]

    Bushmeat Markets on Bioko Island as a Measure of Hunting Pressure

    John E. Fa
    Comparisons of the availability and abundance of individual species between years showed that more species and more carcasses appeared in 1996 than in 1991. In biomass terms, the increase was significantly less, only 12.5%, when compared with almost 60% more carcasses entering the market in 1996. A larger number of carcasses of the smaller-bodied species (i.e., rodents and the blue duiker [Cephalophus monticola] ) were recorded in 1996 than in 1991. Although an additional four species of birds and one squirrel were recorded in 1996, these were less important in terms of their contribution to biomass or carcass numbers. Concurrently, there was a dramatic reduction in the larger-bodied species, Ogilby's duiker (C. ogilbyi) and seven diurnal primates. We examined these changes, especially the drop in the number of larger animals. We considered the possible following explanations: (1) the number of hunters dropped either because of enforced legislation or scarcity of larger prey; (2) a shift in the use of hunting techniques occurred ( from shotguns to snares); or (3) consumer demand for primate and duiker meat dropped, which increased demand for smaller game. Our results suggest that the situation in Bioko may be alarmingly close to a catastrophe in which primate populations of international conservation significance are being hunted to dangerously low numbers. Although there is still a need for surveys of actual densities of prey populations throughout the island, working with the human population on Bioko to find alternatives to bushmeat is an urgent priority. Resumen: Realizamos conteos de los cuerpos de animales llevados al mercado de Malabo, en la Isla Bioko, Guinea Ecuatorial, durante dos periodos de estudio de ocho meses cada uno en 1991 y 1996. Las comparaciones realizadas de la disponibilidad y abundancia de especies individuales entre estos años mostró que más especies y más cuerpos aparecieron en 1996 que en 1991. En términos de biomasa, el incremento fue significativamente menor, solo 12.5% cuando se comparó con un incremento de casi un 60% más de cuerpos que llegaron al mercado en 1996. Se observó un mayor número de cuerpos de especies de tamaño pequeño ( por ejemplo roedores, y el duiker azul, Cephalophus monticola) en 1996 que en 1991. A pesar de que hubo una adición de cuatro especies de aves y una especie de ardilla en 1996, estas fueron menos importantes en cuanto a su contribución a la biomasa o el número de cuerpos. Al mismo tiempo, hubo una reducción dramática de especies de cuerpo grande, el duiker de Ogilby (C. ogilbyi) y siete primates diurnos. Examinamos estos cambios, especialmente la caída en el número de animales grandes y consideramos las siguientes posibles explicaciones: (1) hubo una caída significativa en el número de cazadores debido a la posible ejecución de la legislación o debido a una escasez de presas grandes; (2) hubo un cambio en el uso de técnicas de caza ( por ejemplo, el reemplazo de armas de fuego por trampas); o (3) la demanda del consumidor por carne de primates y duikers disminuyó, incrementándose la demanda por animales pequeños. Nuestros resultados sugieren que la situación en Bioko puede estar alarmantemente cerca de una catástrofe en la cual las poblaciones de primates, que son de gran significado para la conservación internacional, han sido reducidas a niveles peligrosamente bajos. A pesar de que aún se necesita llevar a cabo estudios de las densidades existentes de poblaciones de presas a lo largo de la isla, es urgente trabajar con la población humana de Bioko para encontrar alternativas a la venta de carne silvestre. [source]

    Heterogeneous modes of uptake for latex beads revealed through live cell imaging of phagocytes expressing a probe for phosphatidylinositol-(3,4,5)-trisphosphate and phosphatidylinositol-(3,4)-bisphosphate

    CYTOSKELETON, Issue 9 2008
    Jennifer Giorgione
    Abstract Latex beads are the preferred phagocytic substrate in biochemical studies of phagosome composition and maturation. Using living Dictyostelium cells and fluorescent probes, we compared the properties of phagosomes formed to ingest latex beads or digestible prey. Significant differences were found during the initial steps of phagocytosis. During uptake of bacteria or yeast, PHcrac-GFP, a probe that binds to membranes enriched in PI(3,4,5)P3 and PI(3,4)P2, always labeled the nascent phagosome and faded shortly after it sealed. However, labeling of bead-containing phagosomes was highly variable. Beads were engulfed by phagosomes either lacking or displaying the PHcrac-GFP label, and that label, if present, often persisted for many minutes, revealing that early trafficking steps for bead-containing phagosomes are quite heterogeneous. Later stages of the endocytic pathway appeared more similar for phagosomes containing prey and latex beads. Both types of phagosomes fused with acidic endosomes while undergoing transport along microtubules, both acquired the V-ATPase and lost it prior to exocytosis, and both bound the late endosome marker vacuolin B, which was transferred to the plasma membrane upon exocytosis. We conclude that caution is needed in extrapolating results from latex bead phagosomes to phagosomes containing physiological substances, especially in early stages of the endocytic pathway. Cell Motil. Cytoskeleton 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

    Belief-Independent Processes and the Generality Problem for Reliabilism

    DIALECTICA, Issue 1 2005
    Mark McEvoy
    The Generality Problem for process reliabilism is to outline a procedure for determining when two beliefs are produced by the same process, in such a way as to avoid, on the one hand, individuating process types so narrowly that each type is instantiated only once, or, on the other hand, individuating them so broadly that beliefs that have different epistemic statuses are subsumed under the same process type. In this paper, I offer a solution to the problem which takes belief-independent processes to be functions that take as inputs information about distal states of affairs, and produce beliefs as outputs. Processes are individuated narrowly, so as to avoid the latter aspect of the Generality problem, but, by holding process tokens to be of the same type when they take perceptually equivalent scenes as inputs, and produce beliefs of the same kind as outputs, the former aspect of the problem is avoided too. Having argued that this method of typing process tokens solves the Generality Problem, I then argue that my solution does not fall prey to objections that have been, or might be, raised for similar proposals. [source]

    Foregut ossicles morphology and feeding of the freshwater anomuran crab Aegla uruguayana (Decapoda, Aeglidae)

    ACTA ZOOLOGICA, Issue 4 2010
    Veronica Williner
    Abstract Williner, V. 2009. Foregut ossicles morphology and feeding of the freshwater anomuran crab Aegla uruguayana (Decapoda, Aeglidae). ,Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 91: 408,415. The acquisition and processing of food is critical to animal survival and reproductive success. This work describes the foregut ossicles of Aegla uruguayana, which have been proposed to impart trophic characteristics. In addition, stomach contents were analysed using Index of Relative Importance and Weighted Result Index to characterize the diet. The Pearre index was applied to analyse trophic selectivity. We found A. uruguayana has a morphological foregut typical of macrophage organisms. Stomach contents included items typical of omnivorous, generalist and opportunistic feeding modes. Vegetal remains included algae (filamentous, unicellular and colonial morphotypes), insect larvae, oligochaetes, microcrustaceans (copepods and cladocerans), mites, tardigrades, juveniles of A. uruguayana and rotifers. Morphological descriptions of the foregut can reveal feeding habits and provide data on the possible trophic profile of a species, while guiding the selection of appropriate methodology for subsequent analysis. Our stomach content data corroborated the foregut description, but the presence of small prey suggested A. uruguayana utilizes both predation and detritivory trophic strategies. [source]

    Sensory biology of Phalangida harvestmen (Arachnida, Opiliones): a review, with new morphological data on 18 species

    ACTA ZOOLOGICA, Issue 3 2009
    Rodrigo H. Willemart
    Abstract Phalangida includes three of the four suborders of Opiliones (Arachnida): Eupnoi, Dyspnoi and Laniatores. We review the literature on the sensory structures and capabilities of Phalangida, provide new morphological data for 18 species and discuss the 11 sensory structures that have been described in the group. Based on the published data encompassing both behaviour and morphology, three conclusions are apparent: (1) species of Phalangida appear to have limited abilities to detect stimuli at a distance; (2) close range olfaction probably helps to find foods with strong odours, but (3) they appear to be highly dependent on contact chemoreception to detect live prey, predators and mates. We also highlight the fact that legs I in the three suborders and pedipalps in Dyspnoi and Eupnoi are very important sensory appendages, thus legs II should not be called the ,sensory appendages' of harvestmen. In conclusion, we highlight the fact that the sensory capabilities, diet, prey capturing and handling ability, and foraging behaviour of species of Phalangida seem to be different from those of most other arachnids. Finally, we suggest future directions for studies in the field of the sensory system of the group. [source]

    Taxonomic diversity gradients through geological time

    J. Alistair Crame
    Abstract., There is evidence from the fossil record to suggest that latitudinal gradients in taxonomic diversity may be time-invariant features, although almost certainly not on the same scale as that seen at the present day. It is now apparent that both latitudinal and longitudinal gradients increased dramatically in strength through the Cenozoic era (i.e. the last 65 my) to become more pronounced today than at any time in the geological past. Present-day taxonomic diversity gradients, in both the marine and terrestrial realms, are underpinned by the tropical radiations of a comparatively small number of species-rich clades. Quite why these particular taxa proliferated through the Cenozoic is uncertain, but it could be that at least part of the explanation involves the phenomenon of evolutionary escalation. This is, in essence, a theory of biological diversification through evolutionary feedback mechanisms between predators and prey; first one develops an adaptive advantage, and then the other. However, there may also have been some form of extrinsic control on the process of tropical diversification, and this was most likely centred on the phenomenon of global climate change. This is especially so over the last 15 my Various Late Cenozoic (Neogene) vicariant events effectively partitioned the tropics into a series of high diversity centres, or foci. It has been suggested that, in the largest of these in the marine realm (the Indo-West Pacific or IWP centre), a critical patterns of islands acted as a template for rapid speciation during glacioeustatic sea level cycles. The same process occurred in the Atlantic, Caribbean and East Pacific (ACEP) centre, though on a lesser scale. Tropical terrestrial diversity may also have been promoted by rapid range expansions and contractions in concert with glacial cycles (a modified refugium hypothesis). We are beginning to appreciate that an integrated sequence of Neogene tectonic and climatic events greatly influenced the formation of contemporary taxonomic diversity patterns. [source]

    Phylogenetic analysis of the pearlfish tribe Carapini (Pisces: Carapidae)

    ACTA ZOOLOGICA, Issue 4 2000
    E. Parmentier
    Abstract Fishes of the tribe Carapini (Encheliophis and Carapus) share a noteworthy peculiarity: they shelter in holothurian echinoderms or bivalve hosts. Some species are considered parasitic, others commensal. This study focuses on the phylogeny of the tribe, using two other Carapidae species as an outgroup (Snyderidia canina and Onuxodon fowleri). Insofar as possible, the selected anatomical and behavioural characters where chosen in an ecomorphological perspective, as features that could be responses to various lifestyle-related constraints. Our character selection also took into account the fact that some features are (presumably) linked. Such features were grouped together as a single trait to avoid their overvaluation. This methodology enabled commensals to be separated from parasites, the former belonging to Carapus and the latter to Encheliophis. Carapus species reflect in their morphology the constraints imposed by a diet of hard, mobile, elusive prey, showing predator-type features: a strong dentition, a wide mouth opening, a robust food intake apparatus. On the other hand, the endoparasitic Encheliophis species show a generally weaker buccal apparatus and narrow mouth opening, in relation to the different constraints of their lifestyle where the diet constraints are less pronounced: they eat body parts of their host. Changes in both generic diagnoses are proposed and three species are transferred from Encheliophis to Carapus. [source]

    What shapes Eurasian lynx distribution in human dominated landscapes: selecting prey or avoiding people?

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 4 2009
    Mathieu Basille
    In the multi-use landscape of southern Norway, the distribution of lynx is likely to be determined both by the abundance of their favoured prey , the roe deer , and the risk associated with the presence of humans because most lynx mortalities are caused by humans (recreational harvest, poaching, vehicle collisions). We described the distribution of the reproductive portion of the lynx population based on snow-track observations of females with dependent kittens collected over 10,yr (1997,2006) in southern Norway. We used the ecological-niche factor analysis to examine how lynx distribution was influenced by roe deer, human activity, habitat type, environmental productivity and elevation. Our first prediction that lynx should be found in areas of relatively high roe deer abundance was supported. However, our second prediction that lynx should avoid human activity was rejected, and lynx instead occupied areas more disturbed in average than those available (with the exception of the most densely occupied areas). Lynx, however, avoided the most disturbed areas and our third prediction of a trade-off between abundance of prey and avoidance of human activity was supported. On the one hand, roe deer in the most disturbed areas benefit to a large extent from current human land use practices, potentially allowing them to escape predation from lynx. On the other hand, the situation is not so favourable for the predators who are restricted in competition refuges with medium to low prey densities. The consequence is that lynx conservation will have to be achieved in a human modifed environment where the potential for a range of conflicts and high human-caused mortality will remain a constant threat. [source]

    Numerical and dietary responses of a predator community in a temperate zone of Europe

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 2 2009
    Gilles Dupuy
    The generalist predation hypothesis predicts that the functional responses of generalist predator species should be quicker than those of specialist predators and have a regulating effect on vole populations. New interpretations of their role in temperate ecosystems have, however, reactivated a debate suggesting generalist predators may have a destabilizing effect under certain conditions (e.g. landscape homogeneity, low prey diversity, temporary dominance of 1 prey species associated with a high degree of dietary specialization). We studied a rich predator community dominated by generalist carnivores (Martes spp., Vulpes vulpes, Felis catus) over a 6 yr period in farmland and woodland in France. The most frequent prey were small rodents (mostly Microtus arvalis, a grassland species, and Apodemus spp., a woodland species). Alternative prey were diverse and dominated by lagomorphs (Oryctolagus cuniculus, Lepus europeus). We detected a numerical response among specialist carnivores but not among generalist predators. The dietary responses of generalist predators were fairly complex and most often dependent on variation in density of at least 1 prey species. These results support the generalist predation hypothesis. We document a switch to alternative prey, an increase of diet diversity, and a decrease of diet overlap between small and medium-sized generalists during the low density phase of M. arvalis. In this ecosystem, the high density phases of small mammal species are synchronous and cause a temporary specializing of several generalist predator species. This rapid functional response may indicate the predominant role of generalists in low amplitude population cycles of voles observed in some temperate areas. [source]

    Web building flexibility of an orb-web spider in a heterogeneous agricultural landscape

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 5 2008
    Dries Bonte
    Intensification of land-use in agricultural landscapes is responsible for a decline of biodiversity which provide important ecosystem services like pest-control. Changes in landscape composition may also induce behavioural changes of predators in response to variation in the biotic or abiotic environment. By controlling for environmentally confounding factors, we here demonstrate that the orb web spider Araneus diadematus alters its web building behaviour in response to changes in the composition of agricultural landscapes. Thereby, the species increases its foraging efficiency (i.e. investments in silk and web asymmetry) with an increase of agricultural land-use at intermediate spatial scales. This intensification is also related to a decrease in the abundance of larger prey. A negative effect of landscape properties at similar spatial scales on spider fitness was recorded when controlling for relative investments in capture thread length. This study consequently documents the web building flexibility in response to changes in landscape composition, possibly due to changes in prey availability. [source]

    Distribution, abundance, and individual strategies: a multi-scale analysis of dasyurid marsupials in arid central Australia

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 3 2006
    Adele S. Haythornthwaite
    We investigated the effects of different environmental factors on the distribution and abundance of 6 species of dasyurid marsupials using a multiple-scale analysis. Data collected in the spinifex dunefields of the Simpson Desert, Australia, were analysed at 3 spatial scales spanning more than 5 orders of magnitude: "metasite" (covering an area of 1000,2000 km2), site (2,12 km2) and grid (0.01 km2). Temporal variability was also investigated, using data collected in March, April, and May in 4 consecutive years from 1997 to 2000. Both abiotic and biotic factors influenced the capture rates of different species at different times and spatial scales. At the coarsest spatial scale, Dasycercus cristicauda (mulgara) was consistently limited in its distribution by the intensity of rainfall, probably as an indirect result of increased grazing pressure from pastoral activity and a higher density of feral predators in high rainfall areas. However, at the finest spatial scale, this partly carnivorous species was scarce in areas of dense spinifex, perhaps because such habitats yield lowest returns during foraging, and was more common in areas where small invertebrate prey were abundant. Factors affecting the distribution of the most abundant dasyurid species in the study area, Sminthopsis youngsoni (lesser hairy-footed dunnart), could not be identified at any scale; we conclude that this reflects the opportunistic foraging strategies and flexible habitat requirements of this insectivorous species. Both Ningaui ridei (wongai ningaui) and Sminthopsis hirtipes (hairy-footed dunnart) were less abundant throughout the study region. For N. ridei, a spinifex specialist, predictors of occurrence could be identified only at the finest scale of analysis; at the grid level, a close positive association was detected in 2 of the 4 study years between capture rate and spinifex cover. For S. hirtipes, all 3 levels of spatial analysis revealed a negative association between capture rate and both rainfall and spinifex density. For the rarely-caught S. crassicaudata (fat-tailed dunnart) and Planigale tenuirostris (narrow-nosed planigale), no clear results were obtained at any spatial scale, and we interpret this to indicate that the study region represents sub-optimal habitat for these species. Given that different factors affected the distribution and abundance of dasyurids at different spatial scales over time, we conclude that a multiple-scale approach to population and community analysis is vital to accurately identify which environmental processes shape population and community dynamics. Understanding the interplay between regional and local processes will be crucial for management of existing species populations and for prediction of their distributions and abundances in future. [source]

    Determining prey distribution patterns from stomach-contents of satellite-tracked high-predators of the Southern Ocean

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 2 2006
    J. C. Xavier
    The distribution of many cephalopod, crustacean and fish species in the Southern Ocean, and adjacent waters, is poorly known, particularly during times of the year when research surveys are rare. Analysing the stomach samples of satellite-tracked higher predators has been advocated as a potential method by which such gaps in knowledge can be filled. We examined the viability of this approach through monitoring wandering albatrosses Diomedea exulans at their colony on Bird Island, South Georgia (54°S, 38°W) over the winters (May,July) of 1999 and 2000. At this time, these birds foraged in up to three different water-masses, the Antarctic zone (AZ), the sub-Antarctic zone (SAZ) and the sub-Tropical zone (STZ), which we defined by contemporaneous satellite images of sea surface temperature. A probabilistic model was applied to the tracking and diet data collected from 38 birds to construct a large-scale map of where various prey were captured. Robustness/sensitivity analyses were used to test model assumptions on the time spent foraging and relative catch efficiencies and to evaluate potential biases associated with the model. We were able to predict the distributions of a wide number of cephalopod, crustacean of fish species. We also discovered some of the limitations to using this type of data and proposed ways to rectify these problems. [source]

    The importance of interspecific interactions for breeding-site selection: peregrine falcons seek proximity to raven nests

    ECOGRAPHY, Issue 6 2004
    Fabrizio Sergio
    The advent of GIS is initiating a rapid increase in the utilization of wildlife-habitat models as tools for species and habitat management. However, such models rarely include estimates of interspecific interactions among explanatory variables. We tested the importance of such variables by using the peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus, a medium-sized raptor frequently reported to be affected by heterospecifics, as a model species. In an Alpine population, compared to random locations, peregrines selected breeding sites farther from conspecifics, on taller cliffs, with higher availability of farmland and closer to raven Corvus corax nests. Within suitable habitat, peregrines selected sites near ravens and far from elevations associated with golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos nests. Productivity increased with cliff size, farmland availability (rich in the local main prey) and with proximity to ravens, suggesting that the observed choices were adaptive. Finally, at the regional level, peregrine density peaked at low elevation and was positively associated with raven density. The results suggested an active breeding association of peregrines with ravens, which may provide early-warning cues against predators and safe alternative nest-sites. They also confirmed the importance of including estimates of interspecific interactions among explanatory variables, which may: 1) make models more realistic; 2) increase their predictive power by lowering unexplained variance due to unmeasured factors; 3) provide unexpected results such as the cryptic, large-scale breeding association of our study; and 4) stimulate further hypothesis formulation and testing, ultimately leading to deeper ecological knowledge of the study system. [source]