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Predator effects on behaviour and life-history of prey
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Ecology and Environmental Science.
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis I investigate predator-induced effects on behavioural and life-history characteristics of prey. At any moment a given predator is capable of attacking a small number of prey. However, the mere presence of a predator may impact a much larger number of individuals, as prey implement various behavioural and developmental mechanisms to reduce the risk of predation. It has become increasingly clear that predator induced responses have the potential to affect patterns of species abundance and distribution as well as individual fitness of prey. I study these responses by incorporating field surveys, semi-field experiments and laboratory experiments. All experiments were done in an aquatic environment using fish or large odonate larvae as predators and damselfly-or diving beetle larvae as prey.

My work highlights the importance of monitoring prey behaviour when studying life-history characteristics. I show that fish presence is an important factor for determining species abundance and distribution of odonates, and that prey behaviour may be a good predictor for fish vulnerability. Larval damselflies react behaviourally to predator presence by reducing activity and/or restricting habitat use. I confirm that such anti-predator responses have positive effects on prey survival in the presence of a predator but negative effects on growth and development of prey. In addition, my results suggest that the increase in per capita food resources for surviving prey following a predation episode (i.e. thinning) can have a stronger positive effect on prey growth and development than the negative effect of anti-predator responses. I also show that the strength of an anti-predator response is dependent on resource availability of the prey, with prey responding less strongly when resources are scarce. My results also indicate that the strength of the anti-predator response of damselfly larvae depends on predator diet and larval age. Predators feeding on prey conspecifics induce a stronger behavioural response in young larva than predators that feed on prey heterospecifics do. This diet-effect was not found in larvae late in ontogeny, due to an increased activity of larva where predators consumed damselflies. Such increased larval activity can be explained as a reaction to a time-constraint. Finally, I found that activity of damselfly larvae is genetically determined and that this has lead to a behavioural syndrome that might limit larval plasticity to a certain activity-range. This phenomenon may have implications for how well larvae are able to react to both biotic and abiotic changes in the environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Ekologi, miljö och geovetenskap , 2005. , 34 p.
Keyword [en]
activity, behaviour, behavioural syndromes, damselfly, development, growth, life-history, predator-prey interaction, predation risk, thinning
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-629ISBN: 91-7305-964-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-629DiVA: diva2:144058
Public defence
2005-12-02, Stora hörsalen, KB3B1, KBC, 901 87, Umeå, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2005-11-16 Created: 2005-11-16Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Effects of fish predators and abiotic factors on dragonfly community structure
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of fish predators and abiotic factors on dragonfly community structure
2003 In: Journal of Freshwater Ecology, ISSN 0270-5060, Vol. 18, 415 - 423 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4809 (URN)
Available from: 2005-11-16 Created: 2005-11-16Bibliographically approved
2. Conflicting selection pressures on the growth/predation risk trade-off in a damselfly
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Conflicting selection pressures on the growth/predation risk trade-off in a damselfly
2004 (English)In: Ecology, ISSN 0012-9658, E-ISSN 1939-9170, Vol. 85, no 11, 2927-2932 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Activity is an important behavioral trait that in most animals mediates a trade-off between obtaining food for growth and avoiding predation. Active individuals usually experience a higher encounter rate with food items and predators and, as a consequence, grow faster and suffer higher predation pressure than less active individuals. We investigated how predator-induced mortality and growth of the damselfly Coenagrion hastulatum depend on activity at the level of the genotype. Larvae from six different C. hastulatum families were reared in two different predator treatments: predator present or absent. Families differed in activity, and active families grew to a significantly larger size than less-active families. Within families there was a plastic response to predators. Larvae reared without predators were more active and grew larger than larvae reared with a nonlethal predator. In the presence of a lethal predator the active families experienced higher mortality than the less active families. The results illustrate that the growth/predation-risk trade-off was mediated by activity and clearly show a cost of antipredator behavior. They also suggest that variation in activity level might be genetically regulated and could explain why C. hastulatum are abundant in aquatic systems both with and without potential predators.

Keyword
antipredator behavior, Coenagrion, predator–prey interactions, stabilizing selection, trade-off, growth vs. mortality
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4810 (URN)10.1890/03-3120 (DOI)
Available from: 2005-11-16 Created: 2005-11-16 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
3. Effects of predator induced thinning and activity changes on life history in a damselfly
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of predator induced thinning and activity changes on life history in a damselfly
2002 In: Oecologia, ISSN 0029-8549, Vol. 132, no 2, 316 - 322 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4811 (URN)
Available from: 2005-11-16 Created: 2005-11-16Bibliographically approved
4. Behavioural and life history effects of predator diet cues during ontogeny in a damselfly larvae
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Behavioural and life history effects of predator diet cues during ontogeny in a damselfly larvae
In: Oecologia, ISSN 0029-8549Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4812 (URN)
Available from: 2005-11-16 Created: 2005-11-16Bibliographically approved
5. Predator related oviposition site selection of aquatic beetles (Hydroporus spp.) and effects on offspring life-history
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Predator related oviposition site selection of aquatic beetles (Hydroporus spp.) and effects on offspring life-history
2006 (English)In: Freshwater Biology, ISSN 0046-5070, E-ISSN 1365-2427, Vol. 51, no 7, 1277-1285 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

1. Theory predicts that natural selection should favour females that are able to correctly assess the risk of predation and then use that information to avoid high-risk oviposition sites to reduce the risk of offspring predation. Despite the potential significance of such behaviour on individual fitness, population dynamics and community structure, relatively few studies of oviposition behaviour connected to the risk of predation have been carried out.

2. However, some recent studies suggest that oviposition site selection in response to risk of predation may be a common phenomenon, at least among amphibians and mosquitoes. A vast majority of previous studies have, however, neglected to investigate how the offspring are affected, in terms of fitness related parameters, by the maternal oviposition site choice.

3. In an outdoor artificial pond experiment we tested the oviposition site selection of female aquatic beetles (Hydroporus spp.) in relation to the presence or absence of a predatory fish (Perca fluviatilis). In addition, we monitored how the oviposition site selection affected the behaviour, growth and food resource of the progeny.

4. We show that free-flying females of the aquatic beetles Hydroporus incognitus and H. nigrita prefer to oviposit in waters without fish compared with waters with fish. Larval activity of Hydroporus spp. was unaffected by fish presence. Our results indicate that beetle larvae from females that do lay eggs in waters with fish show increased growth compared with larvae in waters without fish. We explain this difference in growth by a higher per-capita food supply in the presence of a fish predator. This finding may have important implications for our understanding of how the variance of oviposition site selection in a population is sustained.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2006
National Category
Ecology Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4813 (URN)10.1111/j.1365-2427.2006.01563.x (DOI)
Available from: 2005-11-16 Created: 2005-11-16 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved

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