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Spatial variability in prey phenology determines predator movement patterns and prey survival

Spatial variability in prey phenology determines predator movement patterns and prey survival Species have phenological variation among local habitats that are located at relatively small spatial scales. However, less studies have tested how this spatial variability in phenology can mediate intra-/inter-specific interactions. When predators track phenological variation of prey among local habitats, survival of prey within a local habitat strongly influenced by phenological synchrony with their conspecifics in adjacent habitats. Theory predicts that phenological synchrony among local habitats increases prey survival in local habitat within spatially structured environments because the predators have to make a habitat choice for foraging. Consequently, total survival of prey at regional scale should be higher. By using a spatially explicit field experiment, we tested above hypothesis using a prey–predator interaction between tadpole (Rhacophorus arboreus) and newt (Cynops pyrrhogaster). We established enclosures (≈regional scale) consisting of two tanks (≈local habitat scale) with different degree of prey phenological synchrony. We found that phenological synchrony of prey between tanks within each enclosure decreased the mean residence time of the predator in each tank, which resulted in higher survival of prey at a local habitat scale, supporting the theoretical prediction. Furthermore, individual-level variation in predator residence time explained the between-tank variation in prey survival in enclosures with phenological synchrony, implying that movement patterns of the predator can mediate variation in local population dynamics of their prey. However, total survival at each enclosure was not higher under phenological synchrony. These results suggest the importance of relative timing of prey phenology, not absolute timing, among local habitats in determining prey–predator interactions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Aquatic Ecology Springer Journals

Spatial variability in prey phenology determines predator movement patterns and prey survival

Aquatic Ecology , Volume 51 (3) – Apr 29, 2017

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Life Sciences; Freshwater & Marine Ecology; Ecosystems
ISSN
1386-2588
eISSN
1573-5125
DOI
10.1007/s10452-017-9623-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Species have phenological variation among local habitats that are located at relatively small spatial scales. However, less studies have tested how this spatial variability in phenology can mediate intra-/inter-specific interactions. When predators track phenological variation of prey among local habitats, survival of prey within a local habitat strongly influenced by phenological synchrony with their conspecifics in adjacent habitats. Theory predicts that phenological synchrony among local habitats increases prey survival in local habitat within spatially structured environments because the predators have to make a habitat choice for foraging. Consequently, total survival of prey at regional scale should be higher. By using a spatially explicit field experiment, we tested above hypothesis using a prey–predator interaction between tadpole (Rhacophorus arboreus) and newt (Cynops pyrrhogaster). We established enclosures (≈regional scale) consisting of two tanks (≈local habitat scale) with different degree of prey phenological synchrony. We found that phenological synchrony of prey between tanks within each enclosure decreased the mean residence time of the predator in each tank, which resulted in higher survival of prey at a local habitat scale, supporting the theoretical prediction. Furthermore, individual-level variation in predator residence time explained the between-tank variation in prey survival in enclosures with phenological synchrony, implying that movement patterns of the predator can mediate variation in local population dynamics of their prey. However, total survival at each enclosure was not higher under phenological synchrony. These results suggest the importance of relative timing of prey phenology, not absolute timing, among local habitats in determining prey–predator interactions.

Journal

Aquatic EcologySpringer Journals

Published: Apr 29, 2017

References