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Data from: Aphid cards – useful model for assessing predation rates or bias prone nonsense?


Boetzl, Fabian A.; Konle, Antonia; Krauss, Jochen (2020), Data from: Aphid cards – useful model for assessing predation rates or bias prone nonsense?, Dryad, Dataset,


Predation on pest organisms is an essential ecosystem function supporting yields in modern agriculture. However, assessing predation rates is intricate and they can rarely be linked directly to predator densities or functions. We tested whether sentinel prey aphid cards are useful tools to assess predation rates in the field. Therefore, we looked at aphid cards of different sizes on the ground level as well as within the vegetation. Additionally, by trapping ground dwelling predators, we examined whether obtained predation rates could be linked to predator densities and traits. Predation rates recorded with aphid cards were independent of aphid card size. However, predation rates on the ground level were three times higher than within the vegetation. We found both predatory carabid activity densities as well as community weighted mean body size to be good predictors for predation rates. Predation rates obtained from aphid cards are stable over card type and related to predator assemblages. Aphid cards therefore are a useful, efficient method for rapidly assessing the ecosystem function predation. Their use might especially be recommended for assessments on the ground level and when time and resource limitations rule out more elaborate sentinel prey methods using exclosures with living prey animals.

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