Oecologia

, Volume 175, Issue 4, pp 1349–1358

Bottom-up and top-down processes interact to modify intraguild interactions in resource-pulse environments

  • Aaron C. Greenville
  • Glenda M. Wardle
  • Bobby Tamayo
  • Chris R. Dickman
Ecosystem ecology - Original research

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-014-2977-8

Cite this article as:
Greenville, A.C., Wardle, G.M., Tamayo, B. et al. Oecologia (2014) 175: 1349. doi:10.1007/s00442-014-2977-8

Abstract

Top predators are declining globally, in turn allowing populations of smaller predators, or mesopredators, to increase and potentially have negative effects on biodiversity. However, detection of interactions among sympatric predators can be complicated by fluctuations in the background availability of resources in the environment, which may modify both the numbers of predators and the strengths of their interactions. Here, we first present a conceptual framework that predicts how top-down and bottom-up interactions may regulate sympatric predator populations in environments that experience resource pulses. We then test it using 2 years of remote-camera trapping data to uncover spatial and temporal interactions between a top predator, the dingo Canis dingo, and the mesopredatory European red fox Vulpes vulpes and feral cat Felis catus, during population booms, declines and busts in numbers of their prey in a model desert system. We found that dingoes predictably suppress abundances of the mesopredators and that the effects are strongest during declines and busts in prey numbers. Given that resource pulses are usually driven by large yet infrequent rains, we conclude that top predators like the dingo provide net benefits to prey populations by suppressing mesopredators during prolonged bust periods when prey populations are low and potentially vulnerable.

Keywords

Apex predatorsBiodiversityBoom and bustMesopredator releaseDepredation

Supplementary material

442_2014_2977_MOESM1_ESM.docx (37 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 37 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron C. Greenville
    • 1
    • 2
  • Glenda M. Wardle
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bobby Tamayo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chris R. Dickman
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Desert Ecology Research Group, School of Biological SciencesUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Long-Term Ecological Research Network, Multi-Scale Plot NetworkTerrestrial Ecosystem Research NetworkCanberraAustralia