Limited spatial response to direct predation risk by African herbivores following predator reintroduction

Andrew B. Davies, Craig J. Tambling, Graham I.H. Kerley, Gregory P. Asner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Predators affect ecosystems not only through direct mortality of prey, but also through risk effects on prey behavior, which can exert strong influences on ecosystem function and prey fitness. However, how functionally different prey species respond to predation risk and how prey strategies vary across ecosystems and in response to predator reintroduction are poorly understood. We investigated the spatial distributions of six African herbivores varying in foraging strategy and body size in response to environmental factors and direct predation risk by recently reintroduced lions in the thicket biome of the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, using camera trap surveys, GPS telemetry, kill site locations and Light Detection and Ranging. Spatial distributions of all species, apart from buffalo, were driven primarily by environmental factors, with limited responses to direct predation risk. Responses to predation risk were instead indirect, with species distributions driven by environmental factors, and diel patterns being particularly pronounced. Grazers were more responsive to the measured variables than browsers, with more observations in open areas. Terrain ruggedness was a stronger predictor of browser distributions than was vegetation density. Buffalo was the only species to respond to predator encounter risk, avoiding areas with higher lion utilization. Buffalo therefore behaved in similar ways to when lions were absent from the study area. Our results suggest that direct predation risk effects are relatively weak when predator densities are low and the time since reintroduction is short and emphasize the need for robust, long-term monitoring of predator reintroductions to place such events in the broader context of predation risk effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5728-5748
Number of pages21
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume6
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

reintroduction
predation risk
herbivore
herbivores
predator
predation
predators
Panthera leo
environmental factor
buffaloes
ecosystems
spatial distribution
environmental factors
ecosystem
elephant
biome
ecosystem function
telemetry
lidar
body size

Keywords

  • Antipredator behavior
  • camera traps
  • Carnegie Airborne Observatory
  • habitat selection
  • landscape of fear
  • Light Detection and Ranging
  • lion
  • Panthera leo
  • predator reintroductions
  • predator–prey interactions
  • thicket biome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Cite this

Limited spatial response to direct predation risk by African herbivores following predator reintroduction. / Davies, Andrew B.; Tambling, Craig J.; Kerley, Graham I.H.; Asner, Gregory P.

In: Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 6, No. 16, 01.08.2016, p. 5728-5748.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Davies, Andrew B. ; Tambling, Craig J. ; Kerley, Graham I.H. ; Asner, Gregory P. / Limited spatial response to direct predation risk by African herbivores following predator reintroduction. In: Ecology and Evolution. 2016 ; Vol. 6, No. 16. pp. 5728-5748.
@article{fce5f71b7e0c4a4b9ce760a734303e52,
title = "Limited spatial response to direct predation risk by African herbivores following predator reintroduction",
abstract = "Predators affect ecosystems not only through direct mortality of prey, but also through risk effects on prey behavior, which can exert strong influences on ecosystem function and prey fitness. However, how functionally different prey species respond to predation risk and how prey strategies vary across ecosystems and in response to predator reintroduction are poorly understood. We investigated the spatial distributions of six African herbivores varying in foraging strategy and body size in response to environmental factors and direct predation risk by recently reintroduced lions in the thicket biome of the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, using camera trap surveys, GPS telemetry, kill site locations and Light Detection and Ranging. Spatial distributions of all species, apart from buffalo, were driven primarily by environmental factors, with limited responses to direct predation risk. Responses to predation risk were instead indirect, with species distributions driven by environmental factors, and diel patterns being particularly pronounced. Grazers were more responsive to the measured variables than browsers, with more observations in open areas. Terrain ruggedness was a stronger predictor of browser distributions than was vegetation density. Buffalo was the only species to respond to predator encounter risk, avoiding areas with higher lion utilization. Buffalo therefore behaved in similar ways to when lions were absent from the study area. Our results suggest that direct predation risk effects are relatively weak when predator densities are low and the time since reintroduction is short and emphasize the need for robust, long-term monitoring of predator reintroductions to place such events in the broader context of predation risk effects.",
keywords = "Antipredator behavior, camera traps, Carnegie Airborne Observatory, habitat selection, landscape of fear, Light Detection and Ranging, lion, Panthera leo, predator reintroductions, predator–prey interactions, thicket biome",
author = "Davies, {Andrew B.} and Tambling, {Craig J.} and Kerley, {Graham I.H.} and Asner, {Gregory P.}",
year = "2016",
month = "8",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1002/ece3.2312",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "6",
pages = "5728--5748",
journal = "Ecology and Evolution",
issn = "2045-7758",
publisher = "John Wiley and Sons Ltd",
number = "16",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Limited spatial response to direct predation risk by African herbivores following predator reintroduction

AU - Davies, Andrew B.

AU - Tambling, Craig J.

AU - Kerley, Graham I.H.

AU - Asner, Gregory P.

PY - 2016/8/1

Y1 - 2016/8/1

N2 - Predators affect ecosystems not only through direct mortality of prey, but also through risk effects on prey behavior, which can exert strong influences on ecosystem function and prey fitness. However, how functionally different prey species respond to predation risk and how prey strategies vary across ecosystems and in response to predator reintroduction are poorly understood. We investigated the spatial distributions of six African herbivores varying in foraging strategy and body size in response to environmental factors and direct predation risk by recently reintroduced lions in the thicket biome of the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, using camera trap surveys, GPS telemetry, kill site locations and Light Detection and Ranging. Spatial distributions of all species, apart from buffalo, were driven primarily by environmental factors, with limited responses to direct predation risk. Responses to predation risk were instead indirect, with species distributions driven by environmental factors, and diel patterns being particularly pronounced. Grazers were more responsive to the measured variables than browsers, with more observations in open areas. Terrain ruggedness was a stronger predictor of browser distributions than was vegetation density. Buffalo was the only species to respond to predator encounter risk, avoiding areas with higher lion utilization. Buffalo therefore behaved in similar ways to when lions were absent from the study area. Our results suggest that direct predation risk effects are relatively weak when predator densities are low and the time since reintroduction is short and emphasize the need for robust, long-term monitoring of predator reintroductions to place such events in the broader context of predation risk effects.

AB - Predators affect ecosystems not only through direct mortality of prey, but also through risk effects on prey behavior, which can exert strong influences on ecosystem function and prey fitness. However, how functionally different prey species respond to predation risk and how prey strategies vary across ecosystems and in response to predator reintroduction are poorly understood. We investigated the spatial distributions of six African herbivores varying in foraging strategy and body size in response to environmental factors and direct predation risk by recently reintroduced lions in the thicket biome of the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa, using camera trap surveys, GPS telemetry, kill site locations and Light Detection and Ranging. Spatial distributions of all species, apart from buffalo, were driven primarily by environmental factors, with limited responses to direct predation risk. Responses to predation risk were instead indirect, with species distributions driven by environmental factors, and diel patterns being particularly pronounced. Grazers were more responsive to the measured variables than browsers, with more observations in open areas. Terrain ruggedness was a stronger predictor of browser distributions than was vegetation density. Buffalo was the only species to respond to predator encounter risk, avoiding areas with higher lion utilization. Buffalo therefore behaved in similar ways to when lions were absent from the study area. Our results suggest that direct predation risk effects are relatively weak when predator densities are low and the time since reintroduction is short and emphasize the need for robust, long-term monitoring of predator reintroductions to place such events in the broader context of predation risk effects.

KW - Antipredator behavior

KW - camera traps

KW - Carnegie Airborne Observatory

KW - habitat selection

KW - landscape of fear

KW - Light Detection and Ranging

KW - lion

KW - Panthera leo

KW - predator reintroductions

KW - predator–prey interactions

KW - thicket biome

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84978959131&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84978959131&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1002/ece3.2312

DO - 10.1002/ece3.2312

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84978959131

VL - 6

SP - 5728

EP - 5748

JO - Ecology and Evolution

JF - Ecology and Evolution

SN - 2045-7758

IS - 16

ER -