The functional response of a generalist predator

Sophie Smout, Christian Asseburg, Jason Matthiopoulos, Carmen Fernandez, Stephen Redpath, Simon Thirgood, John Harwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Predators can have profound impacts on the dynamics of their prey that depend on how predator consumption is affected by prey density (the predator's functional response). Consumption by a generalist predator is expected to depend on the densities of all its major prey species (its multispecies functional response, or MSFR), but most studies of generalists have focussed on their functional response to only one prey species.

Methodology and principal findings: Using Bayesian methods, we fit an MSFR to field data from an avian predator (the hen harrier Circus cyaneus) feeding on three different prey species. We use a simple graphical approach to show that ignoring the effects of alternative prey can give a misleading impression of the predator's effect on the prey of interest. For example, in our system, a "predator pit'' for one prey species only occurs when the availability of other prey species is low.

Conclusions and significance: The Bayesian approach is effective in fitting the MSFR model to field data. It allows flexibility in modelling over-dispersion, incorporates additional biological information into the parameter priors, and generates estimates of uncertainty in the model's predictions. These features of robustness and data efficiency make our approach ideal for the study of long-lived predators, for which data may be sparse and management/conservation priorities pressing.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10761
Number of pages7
JournalPloS ONE
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2010

Keywords

  • harrier circus-cyaneus
  • single-species models
  • fisheries management
  • hen harriers
  • red grouse
  • multispecies fisheries
  • scientific basis
  • prey
  • ecosystem
  • conservation

Cite this

Smout, S., Asseburg, C., Matthiopoulos, J., Fernandez, C., Redpath, S., Thirgood, S., & Harwood, J. (2010). The functional response of a generalist predator. PloS ONE, 5(5), [e10761]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0010761

The functional response of a generalist predator. / Smout, Sophie; Asseburg, Christian; Matthiopoulos, Jason; Fernandez, Carmen; Redpath, Stephen; Thirgood, Simon; Harwood, John.

In: PloS ONE, Vol. 5, No. 5, e10761, 27.05.2010.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Smout, S, Asseburg, C, Matthiopoulos, J, Fernandez, C, Redpath, S, Thirgood, S & Harwood, J 2010, 'The functional response of a generalist predator', PloS ONE, vol. 5, no. 5, e10761. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0010761
Smout S, Asseburg C, Matthiopoulos J, Fernandez C, Redpath S, Thirgood S et al. The functional response of a generalist predator. PloS ONE. 2010 May 27;5(5). e10761. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0010761
Smout, Sophie ; Asseburg, Christian ; Matthiopoulos, Jason ; Fernandez, Carmen ; Redpath, Stephen ; Thirgood, Simon ; Harwood, John. / The functional response of a generalist predator. In: PloS ONE. 2010 ; Vol. 5, No. 5.
@article{42010b3b86074621a27797c5577a9f0d,
title = "The functional response of a generalist predator",
abstract = "Background: Predators can have profound impacts on the dynamics of their prey that depend on how predator consumption is affected by prey density (the predator's functional response). Consumption by a generalist predator is expected to depend on the densities of all its major prey species (its multispecies functional response, or MSFR), but most studies of generalists have focussed on their functional response to only one prey species.Methodology and principal findings: Using Bayesian methods, we fit an MSFR to field data from an avian predator (the hen harrier Circus cyaneus) feeding on three different prey species. We use a simple graphical approach to show that ignoring the effects of alternative prey can give a misleading impression of the predator's effect on the prey of interest. For example, in our system, a {"}predator pit'' for one prey species only occurs when the availability of other prey species is low.Conclusions and significance: The Bayesian approach is effective in fitting the MSFR model to field data. It allows flexibility in modelling over-dispersion, incorporates additional biological information into the parameter priors, and generates estimates of uncertainty in the model's predictions. These features of robustness and data efficiency make our approach ideal for the study of long-lived predators, for which data may be sparse and management/conservation priorities pressing.",
keywords = "harrier circus-cyaneus, single-species models, fisheries management, hen harriers, red grouse, multispecies fisheries, scientific basis, prey , ecosystem, conservation",
author = "Sophie Smout and Christian Asseburg and Jason Matthiopoulos and Carmen Fernandez and Stephen Redpath and Simon Thirgood and John Harwood",
year = "2010",
month = "5",
day = "27",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pone.0010761",
language = "English",
volume = "5",
journal = "PloS ONE",
issn = "1932-6203",
publisher = "PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The functional response of a generalist predator

AU - Smout, Sophie

AU - Asseburg, Christian

AU - Matthiopoulos, Jason

AU - Fernandez, Carmen

AU - Redpath, Stephen

AU - Thirgood, Simon

AU - Harwood, John

PY - 2010/5/27

Y1 - 2010/5/27

N2 - Background: Predators can have profound impacts on the dynamics of their prey that depend on how predator consumption is affected by prey density (the predator's functional response). Consumption by a generalist predator is expected to depend on the densities of all its major prey species (its multispecies functional response, or MSFR), but most studies of generalists have focussed on their functional response to only one prey species.Methodology and principal findings: Using Bayesian methods, we fit an MSFR to field data from an avian predator (the hen harrier Circus cyaneus) feeding on three different prey species. We use a simple graphical approach to show that ignoring the effects of alternative prey can give a misleading impression of the predator's effect on the prey of interest. For example, in our system, a "predator pit'' for one prey species only occurs when the availability of other prey species is low.Conclusions and significance: The Bayesian approach is effective in fitting the MSFR model to field data. It allows flexibility in modelling over-dispersion, incorporates additional biological information into the parameter priors, and generates estimates of uncertainty in the model's predictions. These features of robustness and data efficiency make our approach ideal for the study of long-lived predators, for which data may be sparse and management/conservation priorities pressing.

AB - Background: Predators can have profound impacts on the dynamics of their prey that depend on how predator consumption is affected by prey density (the predator's functional response). Consumption by a generalist predator is expected to depend on the densities of all its major prey species (its multispecies functional response, or MSFR), but most studies of generalists have focussed on their functional response to only one prey species.Methodology and principal findings: Using Bayesian methods, we fit an MSFR to field data from an avian predator (the hen harrier Circus cyaneus) feeding on three different prey species. We use a simple graphical approach to show that ignoring the effects of alternative prey can give a misleading impression of the predator's effect on the prey of interest. For example, in our system, a "predator pit'' for one prey species only occurs when the availability of other prey species is low.Conclusions and significance: The Bayesian approach is effective in fitting the MSFR model to field data. It allows flexibility in modelling over-dispersion, incorporates additional biological information into the parameter priors, and generates estimates of uncertainty in the model's predictions. These features of robustness and data efficiency make our approach ideal for the study of long-lived predators, for which data may be sparse and management/conservation priorities pressing.

KW - harrier circus-cyaneus

KW - single-species models

KW - fisheries management

KW - hen harriers

KW - red grouse

KW - multispecies fisheries

KW - scientific basis

KW - prey

KW - ecosystem

KW - conservation

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0010761

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0010761

M3 - Article

VL - 5

JO - PloS ONE

JF - PloS ONE

SN - 1932-6203

IS - 5

M1 - e10761

ER -