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Predation Lecture 15. Overview Chapter in Text: 15, 17 Predation and Herbivory Responses of individuals to predation Responses of populations to predation.

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Presentation on theme: "Predation Lecture 15. Overview Chapter in Text: 15, 17 Predation and Herbivory Responses of individuals to predation Responses of populations to predation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Predation Lecture 15

2 Overview Chapter in Text: 15, 17 Predation and Herbivory Responses of individuals to predation Responses of populations to predation – refuges Importance of Predators – Maintenance of ecosystem diversity – as a Keystone species

3 What is a predator? Narrow sense Broad sense Ecological definition of predator: – Herbivores: Grazers and browsers – consume part of plant/plant not killed Seed eaters + planktinovores: consume entire plant – Parasite: generally do not kill host – Parasitoid: lay eggs in host – feeding by larvae eventually kill host

4 –Under simple laboratory conditions, the predator often exterminates its prey It then becomes extinct itself having run out of food!

5 Lotka-Volterra Models and Predator-Prey cycling: Developed during 1920s Assume mutual interaction of predator and prey numbers Predict persistence of both predator and prey populations The Lotka–Volterra equations for predator and prey populations link the two populations – Each population functions as a density-dependent regulator on the other Predator as a source of density-dependent regulation on the mortality of the prey population Prey as a source of density-dependent regulation on the birthrate of the predator population

6 The paired equations, when solved, show that the two populations rise and fall in oscillations The cycle can continue indefinitely — the prey is never quite destroyed; the predator never completely dies out

7 “Now, here you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place” – the Red Queen Coevolution: as prey species evolve ways to avoid being caught, predators evolve more effective means to capture them Natural selection (think in terms of fitness)  – “smarter,” more evasive prey – “smarter,” more skilled predators

8 Prey defenses to avoid being detected, selected, and captured by predators: – Chemical defense Alarm pheromones Repellants Toxins – Cryptic coloration – Warning coloration – Protective armor – Behavioral defense

9 Some animals receive an added benefit from eating plants rich in secondary chemical compounds – Caterpillars of monarch butterflies concentrate and store these compounds Chemical Defenses They then pass them to the adult and even to eggs of next generation Birds that eat the butterflies regurgitate them Blue jay I’m not eating this again!

10 Physical – Thorns – Height – Heavy seed coat Chemical – Toxins – Digestion inhibitors Nutritional – Low levels of N in older foliage – Tough, difficult to masticate foliage Plant Responses to Herbivores

11 Mustard oils protected plants from herbivores at first – At some point, however, certain insects evolved the ability to break down mustard oil Chemical Responses of Plants to Herbivory These insects were able to use a new resource without competing with other herbivores for it –Cabbage butterfly caterpillars Adult Green caterpillar

12 Physical Behavioral Chemical – Toxins Coloration – Cryptic – Warning coloration – aposmatic Batesian mimicry – harmless mimics –After Henry Bates, a 19 th century British naturalist Müllerian mimicry – common coloration of toxin bearing spp –After Fritz Müller, a 19 th century German biologist Animal Defenses against Predation Monarch butterfly Viceroy butterfly

13 Involves adaptations where one animal body part comes to resemble another – This type of mimicry is used by both predator and prey – Example “Eye-spots” found in many butterflies, moths and fish Self Mimicry

14 Two or more unrelated but protected (toxic) species come to resemble one another Müllerian Mimicry –Thus a group defense is achieved Yellow jacket Masarid wasp Sand waspAnthidiine bee

15 Yellow jacket

16 Predation and Behavior Modification - Refuges Schooling of prey fish – response to predator attack – some survive Alarm calls – Prairie dogs, ground squirrels Song birds mob and harass predator bird species Avoidance – temporal, spatial Refuges

17 A mechanism that allows exploited population to escape predation/parasitism – many forms: – Place/form of cover, schooling, synchronized reproduction (large numbers at one time), size – May not provide absolute sanctuary, enough for species to survive – Important for survival of predator too!

18 Protection in Numbers Living in a large group provides a “refuge.” Predator’s response to increased prey density: Prey consumed x Predators = Prey Consumed PredatorAreaArea Wide variety of organisms employ predator satiation defense. – Prey can reduce individual probability of being eaten by living in dense populations.

19 Examples of Predator Satiation Synchronous widespread seed and fruit production by plants - masting. Synchronized emergence of Cicadas – 16-17 year cycle – Williams estimated 1,063,000 cicadas emerged from 16 ha study site. 50% emerged during four consecutive nights. Losses to birds was only 15% of production

20 Size As A Refuge If large individuals are ignored by predators, then large size may offer a form of refuge. – Peckarsky observed mayflies (Family Ephenerellidae) making themselves look larger in the face of foraging stoneflies. In terms of optimal foraging theory, large size equates to lower profitability.

21 Is regulation top-down or bottom-up? ie. primary productivity versus limits imposed by predator populations

22 Ch 18 p 344

23 Diffuse predator–prey interactions – The lynx, coyote, and horned owl are responsible for the periodic cycles in the snowshoe hare population Diffuse mutualism – A single plant species may depend on a variety of animal species for successful reproduction

24 Lynx predates weakened hares – eventually crashes Hare popul crashes as: 1. Reduced forage  weakened hares, high lynx prdation 2. Forage produced after heavy browsing accumulates plant defense chemicals  less palatable

25 Is regulation top- down or bottom- up? ie. primary productivity vs. limits imposed by predator populations

26 Predators and Diversity – see pages 340-344 Alter competitive balance amongst prey spp. – Robert Paine studies: sea star exclusion in intertidal plots  decreased prey diversity (15  8 spp) Selective alteration of competitive relationships – Peter Morin studies – altered competitive relationships amongst immature frog spp by predatory newt


28 Keystone Predator (or Keystone Consumer –) Species essential to maintenance of ecosystem structure/diversity Example (there are many): CA sea otter – kelp forest community


30 THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT Your Pores — Portals for Invasion? Musty Dankness Fleas & Ticks — Tiny Terrorists What's Embedded in Your Bed? What Your Mother Never Told You About Those Hidden Corners and Cracks Pink Mold — Slime or Scourge? Mildew — Mold's Evil Twin

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