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Assessing multiple predator, diurnal and search area effects on predatory impacts by ephemeral wetland specialist copepods

Cuthbert, R. N., Dalu, T., Wasserman, R. J., Monaco, C. J., Callaghan, A., Weyl, O. L. F. and Dick, J. T. A. (2020) Assessing multiple predator, diurnal and search area effects on predatory impacts by ephemeral wetland specialist copepods. Aquatic Ecology, 54. pp. 181-191. ISSN 1386-2588

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s10452-019-09735-y

Abstract/Summary

Predator-prey interaction strengths can be highly context-dependent. In particular, multiple predator effects (MPEs), variations in predator sex and physical habitat characteristics may affect prey consumption rates and thus the persistence of lower trophic groups. Ephemeral wetlands are transient ecosystems and predatory copepods are often numerically dominant. We examine the interaction strengths of a specialist copepod Paradiaptomus lamellatus towards mosquito prey in the presence of conspecifics using a functional response (FR) approach. Further, we examine sex variability in predation rates of P. lamellatus under circadian and surface area variations. Then, we assess the influence of a co-occurring heterospecific predatory copepod, Lovernula raynerae, on total predation rates. We demonstrate MPEs affecting consumption, with negative non-trophic interaction strength and thus antagonism displayed between conspecific predatory units of P. lamellatus. This antagonism was present irrespective of prey density. Furthermore, we show differences between sexes in interaction strengths, with female P. lamellatus significantly more voracious than males, irrespective of time of day and experimental arena surface area. Predation rates by P. lamellatus were significantly lower than the heterospecific calanoid copepod L. raynerae, whilst heterospecific copepod groups exhibited the greatest predatory impact. Our results provide insights into the predation dynamics by specialist copepods, wherein species diversity and sex affect interaction strengths. In turn, this may influence population-level persistence of lower trophic groups under shifting copepod predator composition.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:88572
Publisher:Springer

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