Spatial processes can determine the relationship between prey encounter rate and prey density

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Theoretical models frequently assume that the rate at which a searching predator encounters prey increases linearly with prey density. In a recent experiment using great tits searching for winter moth caterpillars, the time to find the first prey item did not decline as quickly with density as the standard theory assumes. Using a spatial simulation model, we show that prey aggregation and/or spatially correlated searching behaviour by the predator can generate a range of relationships, including results that are qualitatively similar to those found in the great tit experiment. We suggest that further experiments are required to determine whether the explanation proposed here is correct, and that theoretical work is needed to determine how this behaviour is likely to influence the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of predator-prey communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-138
Number of pages3
JournalBiology Letters
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2005

Keywords

  • aggregation
  • foraging
  • searching
  • predation risk
  • spatial structure

Cite this

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title = "Spatial processes can determine the relationship between prey encounter rate and prey density",
abstract = "Theoretical models frequently assume that the rate at which a searching predator encounters prey increases linearly with prey density. In a recent experiment using great tits searching for winter moth caterpillars, the time to find the first prey item did not decline as quickly with density as the standard theory assumes. Using a spatial simulation model, we show that prey aggregation and/or spatially correlated searching behaviour by the predator can generate a range of relationships, including results that are qualitatively similar to those found in the great tit experiment. We suggest that further experiments are required to determine whether the explanation proposed here is correct, and that theoretical work is needed to determine how this behaviour is likely to influence the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of predator-prey communities.",
keywords = "aggregation, foraging, searching, predation risk, spatial structure",
author = "Travis, {Justin Mark John} and Palmer, {Stephen Charles Frederick}",
year = "2005",
month = "6",
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doi = "10.1098/rsbl.2004.0293",
language = "English",
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journal = "Biology Letters",
issn = "1744-9561",
publisher = "ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY",
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T1 - Spatial processes can determine the relationship between prey encounter rate and prey density

AU - Travis, Justin Mark John

AU - Palmer, Stephen Charles Frederick

PY - 2005/6/22

Y1 - 2005/6/22

N2 - Theoretical models frequently assume that the rate at which a searching predator encounters prey increases linearly with prey density. In a recent experiment using great tits searching for winter moth caterpillars, the time to find the first prey item did not decline as quickly with density as the standard theory assumes. Using a spatial simulation model, we show that prey aggregation and/or spatially correlated searching behaviour by the predator can generate a range of relationships, including results that are qualitatively similar to those found in the great tit experiment. We suggest that further experiments are required to determine whether the explanation proposed here is correct, and that theoretical work is needed to determine how this behaviour is likely to influence the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of predator-prey communities.

AB - Theoretical models frequently assume that the rate at which a searching predator encounters prey increases linearly with prey density. In a recent experiment using great tits searching for winter moth caterpillars, the time to find the first prey item did not decline as quickly with density as the standard theory assumes. Using a spatial simulation model, we show that prey aggregation and/or spatially correlated searching behaviour by the predator can generate a range of relationships, including results that are qualitatively similar to those found in the great tit experiment. We suggest that further experiments are required to determine whether the explanation proposed here is correct, and that theoretical work is needed to determine how this behaviour is likely to influence the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of predator-prey communities.

KW - aggregation

KW - foraging

KW - searching

KW - predation risk

KW - spatial structure

U2 - 10.1098/rsbl.2004.0293

DO - 10.1098/rsbl.2004.0293

M3 - Article

VL - 1

SP - 136

EP - 138

JO - Biology Letters

JF - Biology Letters

SN - 1744-9561

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ER -