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Prey and predator density-dependent interactions under different water volumes

Citation

Cuthbert, Ross et al. (2022), Prey and predator density-dependent interactions under different water volumes, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.qz612jmf5

Abstract

Predation is a critical ecological process that directly and indirectly mediates population stabilities, as well as ecosystem structure and function. The strength of interactions between predators and prey may be mediated by multiple density-dependences concerning numbers of predators and prey. In temporary wetland ecosystems in particular, fluctuating water volumes may alter predation rates through differing search space and prey encounters rates. Using a functional response approach, we examined the influence of predator and prey densities on interaction strengths of the temporary pond specialist copepod Lovenula raynerae preying on cladoceran prey, Daphnia pulex, under contrasting water volumes. Further, using a population dynamic modelling approach, we quantified multiple predator effects across differences in prey density and water volume. Predators exhibited Type II functional responses under both water volumes, with significant antagonistic multiple predator effects (i.e. antagonisms) exhibited overall. The strengths of antagonistic interactions were, however, enhanced under reduced water volumes and at intermediate prey densities. These findings indicate important biotic and abiotic contexts that mediate predator-prey dynamics, whereby multiple predator effects are contingent on both prey density and search area characteristics. In particular, reduced search areas (i.e., water volumes) under intermediate prey densities could enhance antagonisms by heightening predator-predator interference effects.

Usage Notes

Underlying data with replicate number (rep), predator density (pred), prey density (density), water volume (depth), prey eaten (eaten) and prey alive (alive).

Funding

Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung

National Research Foundation (South Africa), Award: 117700

Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland)

National Research Foundation (South Africa), Award: 110507

National Research Foundation (South Africa), Award: 117700

Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland)