Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2007

Abstract

Predators can affect prey populations through changes in traits that reduce predation risk. These trait changes (nonconsumptive effects, NCEs) can be energetically costly and cause reduced prey activity, growth, fecundity, and survival. The strength of nonconsumptive effects may vary with two functional characteristics of predators: hunting mode (actively hunting, sit‐and‐pursue, sit‐and‐wait) and habitat domain (the ability to pursue prey via relocation in space; can be narrow or broad). Specifically, cues from fairly stationary sit‐and‐wait and sit‐and‐pursue predators should be more indicative of imminent predation risk, and thereby evoke stronger NCEs, compared to cues from widely ranging actively hunting predators. Using a meta‐analysis of 193 published papers, we found that cues from sit‐and‐pursue predators evoked stronger NCEs than cues from actively hunting predators. Predator habitat domain was less indicative of NCE strength, perhaps because habitat domain provides less reliable information regarding imminent risk to prey than does predator hunting mode. Given the importance of NCEs in determining the dynamics of prey communities, our findings suggest that predator characteristics may be used to predict how changing predator communities translate into changes in prey. Such knowledge may prove particularly useful given rates of local predator change due to habitat fragmentation and the introduction of novel predators.

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