Intermediate predator impact on consumers weakens with increasing predator diversity in the presence of a top-predator
2007 (English)In: Acta Oecologica, Vol. 31, no 1, 79-85 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Adding or removing a top-predator is known to affect lower trophic levels with potentially large, indirect effects on primary production. However, little is known about how predator diversity may affect lower trophic levels, or how adding or removing a top-predator influences the effects of predator diversity. Using aquatic mesocosms containing three and four trophic levels, we tested whether intermediate predator diversity affected predation on consumers and if top-predator presence influenced such effects. We found that the presence of intermediate predators suppressed the consumer population and that this suppression tended to increase with increased intermediate predator diversity when the top-predator was absent. However, with the top-predator present, increased intermediate predator diversity showed the opposite effect on the consumers compared to without a top-predator, i.e. decreased suppression of consumers with increased diversity. Hence, in our study, the loss of intermediate predator species weakened or strengthened predator–prey interactions depending on if the top-predator was present or not, while loss of the top-predator only strengthened the predator–prey interactions. Therefore, the loss of a predator species may render different, but perhaps predictable effects on the functioning of a system depending on from which trophic level it is lost and on the initial number of species in that trophic level.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 31, no 1, 79-85 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-11867DOI: doi:10.1016/j.actao.2006.10.007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-11867DiVA: diva2:151538