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Biological Sciences


Predators can have remote effects on prey populations that are connected by migration (i.e. prey metapopulations) because predator-mediated changes in prey behavior and abundance effectively transmit the impact of predators into predator-free prey populations. Behavioral changes in prey that might give rise to remote effects are altered rates of migration or activity in the presence of predation risk (called non-consumptive effects, fear- or μ-driven effects, and risk effects). Changes in prey abundance that may result in remote effects arise from changes in prey density due to direct predation (i.e. consumptive effects, also called N-driven effects and predation effects). Remote effects provide a different perspective on both predator-prey interactions and spatial subsidies, illustrating how the interplay among space, time, behavior, and consumption generates emergent spatial dynamics in places where we might not expect them. We describe how strong remote effects of predators may essentially generate “remote control” over the dynamics of local populations, alter the persistence of metapopulations, shift the importance of particular paradigms of metacommunity structure, alter spatial subsidies, and affect evolutionary dynamics. We suggest how experiments might document remote effects and predict that remote effects will be an important component of prey dynamics under several common scenarios: when predators induce large changes in prey dispersal behavior, when predators dramatically reduce the number of prey available to disperse, when prey movement dynamics occur over greater distances or shorter timescales than predator movement, and when prey abundance is not already limited by competitors or conspecifics.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.