, Volume 175, Issue 4, pp 1349–1358 | Cite as

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

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


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.


Apex predators Biodiversity Boom and bust Mesopredator release Depredation 



We thank Bush Heritage Australia and G. Woods for allowing access to the properties in the study region; members of the Desert Ecology Research Group, N. Hills, D. Nelson and G. Madani for valuable assistance in the field, and V. Nguyen for statistical advice. A. C. G. was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award and Paddy Pallin Grant, Royal Zoological Society of NSW. Funding support for G. W. and C. D. was provided by the Australian Research Council and by the Australian Government’s Terrestrial Ecosystems Research Network (, an Australian research infrastructure facility established under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy and Education Infrastructure Fund—Super Science Initiative through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.

Supplementary material

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


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron C. Greenville
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • 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

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