182
views
0
recommends
+1 Recommend
0 collections
    0
    shares
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: not found

      Status and ecological effects of the world's largest carnivores.

      Read this article at

      ScienceOpenPublisherPubMed
      Bookmark
          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          Large carnivores face serious threats and are experiencing massive declines in their populations and geographic ranges around the world. We highlight how these threats have affected the conservation status and ecological functioning of the 31 largest mammalian carnivores on Earth. Consistent with theory, empirical studies increasingly show that large carnivores have substantial effects on the structure and function of diverse ecosystems. Significant cascading trophic interactions, mediated by their prey or sympatric mesopredators, arise when some of these carnivores are extirpated from or repatriated to ecosystems. Unexpected effects of trophic cascades on various taxa and processes include changes to bird, mammal, invertebrate, and herpetofauna abundance or richness; subsidies to scavengers; altered disease dynamics; carbon sequestration; modified stream morphology; and crop damage. Promoting tolerance and coexistence with large carnivores is a crucial societal challenge that will ultimately determine the fate of Earth's largest carnivores and all that depends upon them, including humans.

          Related collections

          Most cited references65

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: not found
          • Article: not found

          Modeling multiple ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, commodity production, and tradeoffs at landscape scales

            Bookmark
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            Multiple causes of high extinction risk in large mammal species.

            Many large animal species have a high risk of extinction. This is usually thought to result simply from the way that species traits associated with vulnerability, such as low reproductive rates, scale with body size. In a broad-scale analysis of extinction risk in mammals, we find two additional patterns in the size selectivity of extinction risk. First, impacts of both intrinsic and environmental factors increase sharply above a threshold body mass around 3 kilograms. Second, whereas extinction risk in smaller species is driven by environmental factors, in larger species it is driven by a combination of environmental factors and intrinsic traits. Thus, the disadvantages of large size are greater than generally recognized, and future loss of large mammal biodiversity could be far more rapid than expected.
              Bookmark
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              Predator interactions, mesopredator release and biodiversity conservation.

              There is growing recognition of the important roles played by predators in regulating ecosystems and sustaining biodiversity. Much attention has focused on the consequences of predator-regulation of herbivore populations, and associated trophic cascades. However apex predators may also control smaller 'mesopredators' through intraguild interactions. Removal of apex predators can result in changes to intraguild interactions and outbreaks of mesopredators ('mesopredator release'), leading in turn to increased predation on smaller prey. Here we provide a review and synthesis of studies of predator interactions, mesopredator release and their impacts on biodiversity. Mesopredator suppression by apex predators is widespread geographically and taxonomically. Apex predators suppress mesopredators both by killing them, or instilling fear, which motivates changes in behaviour and habitat use that limit mesopredator distribution and abundance. Changes in the abundance of apex predators may have disproportionate (up to fourfold) effects on mesopredator abundance. Outcomes of interactions between predators may however vary with resource availability, habitat complexity and the complexity of predator communities. There is potential for the restoration of apex predators to have benefits for biodiversity conservation through moderation of the impacts of mesopredators on their prey, but this requires a whole-ecosystem view to avoid unforeseen negative effects. 'Nothing has changed since I began. My eye has permitted no change. I am going to keep things like this.' From 'Hawk Roosting', by Ted Hughes.
                Bookmark

                Author and article information

                Journal
                Science
                Science (New York, N.Y.)
                American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
                1095-9203
                0036-8075
                Jan 10 2014
                : 343
                : 6167
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Trophic Cascades Program, Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
                Article
                343/6167/1241484
                10.1126/science.1241484
                24408439
                595421cc-1e84-4c06-9f81-f0bfd724fb35
                History

                Comments

                Comment on this article