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Eco-evolutionary trophic dynamics: loss of top predators drives trophic evolution and ecology of prey.

dc.contributor.author Kinnison, MT
dc.contributor.author Palkovacs, Eric
dc.contributor.author Wasserman, BA
dc.coverage.spatial United States
dc.date.accessioned 2013-04-16T16:45:51Z
dc.date.issued 2011-04-19
dc.identifier http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21526156
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10161/6537
dc.description.abstract Ecosystems are being altered on a global scale by the extirpation of top predators. The ecological effects of predator removal have been investigated widely; however, predator removal can also change natural selection acting on prey, resulting in contemporary evolution. Here we tested the role of predator removal on the contemporary evolution of trophic traits in prey. We utilized a historical introduction experiment where Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata) were relocated from a site with predatory fishes to a site lacking predators. To assess the trophic consequences of predator release, we linked individual morphology (cranial, jaw, and body) to foraging performance. Our results show that predator release caused an increase in guppy density and a "sharpening" of guppy trophic traits, which enhanced food consumption rates. Predator release appears to have shifted natural selection away from predator escape ability and towards resource acquisition ability. Related diet and mesocosm studies suggest that this shift enhances the impact of guppies on lower trophic levels in a fashion nuanced by the omnivorous feeding ecology of the species. We conclude that extirpation of top predators may commonly select for enhanced feeding performance in prey, with important cascading consequences for communities and ecosystems.
dc.language eng
dc.relation.ispartof PLoS One
dc.relation.isversionof 10.1371/journal.pone.0018879
dc.subject Animals
dc.subject Biological Evolution
dc.subject Biometry
dc.subject Ecology
dc.subject Feeding Behavior
dc.subject Food Chain
dc.subject Least-Squares Analysis
dc.subject Poecilia
dc.subject Population Density
dc.subject Predatory Behavior
dc.title Eco-evolutionary trophic dynamics: loss of top predators drives trophic evolution and ecology of prey.
dc.type Journal article
pubs.author-url http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21526156
pubs.begin-page e18879
pubs.issue 4
pubs.organisational-group Duke
pubs.organisational-group Marine Science and Conservation
pubs.organisational-group Nicholas School of the Environment
pubs.publication-status Published online
pubs.volume 6
dc.identifier.eissn 1932-6203


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