Ecological consequences of the bold–shy continuum: the effect of predator boldness on prey risk

Ecological consequences of the bold–shy continuum: the effect of predator boldness on prey risk Although the existence of different personality traits within and between animal populations has been relatively well established, the ecological implications of this variation remain neglected. In this study we tested whether differences in the boldness of pairs of three-spined sticklebacks led to differential predation risk in their prey, Chironomidae larvae. Bolder pairs, those that left a refuge and crossed the tank mid-line sooner, ate a greater proportion of prey in 10 min than less bold fish (therefore prey were at a greater per capita risk). Fish crossed the mid-line more rapidly when a larger number of prey were presented, suggesting they accepted greater risk in return for a larger foraging reward. Perception of predation risk also affected the differences between fish in boldness, as larger fish crossed the mid-line sooner after leaving the refuge (larger fish are less at risk from predation). Hence, an interesting trophic interaction occurs, where the risk experienced by the chironomid larvae is determined by the risk perceived by their predators. Through the variation generated by boldness, a form of behaviourally mediated trophic cascade can occur within (as well as between) communities. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Oecologia Springer Journals

Ecological consequences of the bold–shy continuum: the effect of predator boldness on prey risk

Oecologia, Volume 157 (1) – May 15, 2008

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 by Springer-Verlag
Subject
Life Sciences; Ecology; Plant Sciences; Hydrology/Water Resources
ISSN
0029-8549
eISSN
1432-1939
DOI
10.1007/s00442-008-1058-2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Although the existence of different personality traits within and between animal populations has been relatively well established, the ecological implications of this variation remain neglected. In this study we tested whether differences in the boldness of pairs of three-spined sticklebacks led to differential predation risk in their prey, Chironomidae larvae. Bolder pairs, those that left a refuge and crossed the tank mid-line sooner, ate a greater proportion of prey in 10 min than less bold fish (therefore prey were at a greater per capita risk). Fish crossed the mid-line more rapidly when a larger number of prey were presented, suggesting they accepted greater risk in return for a larger foraging reward. Perception of predation risk also affected the differences between fish in boldness, as larger fish crossed the mid-line sooner after leaving the refuge (larger fish are less at risk from predation). Hence, an interesting trophic interaction occurs, where the risk experienced by the chironomid larvae is determined by the risk perceived by their predators. Through the variation generated by boldness, a form of behaviourally mediated trophic cascade can occur within (as well as between) communities.

Journal

OecologiaSpringer Journals

Published: May 15, 2008

References

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