Detecting emergent effects of multiple predator species
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- Griffen, B.D. Oecologia (2006) 148: 702. doi:10.1007/s00442-006-0414-3
When foraging together, multiple predator species that share a single prey often cause prey mortality that cannot be predicted based on knowledge of predation by each species separately. Modeling and managing the effects of multiple predator species depend on accurately assessing these combined effects. Two methods are currently used to experimentally examine combined predation by multiple predator species: the additive and substitutive experimental designs. I simultaneously employed both experimental designs to examine predation by two crab species on shared mussel prey. I show that the two methods yield results that disagree both quantitatively and qualitatively, leading to very different conclusions about the way that predator species combine to affect prey mortality. This discrepancy occurred because the two methods examine complimentary, but not interchangeable questions. I advocate using an experimental design that incorporates both additive and substitutive designs to achieve a more complete understanding of the combined effects of multiple predator species.