51
views
0
recommends
+1 Recommend
0 collections
    0
    shares
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: not found
      • Article: not found

      Top predators as biodiversity regulators: the dingo Canis lupus dingo as a case study

      , ,
      Biological Reviews
      Wiley

      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

          Top-order predators often have positive effects on biological diversity owing to their key functional roles in regulating trophic cascades and other ecological processes. Their loss has been identified as a major factor contributing to the decline of biodiversity in both aquatic and terrestrial systems. Consequently, restoring and maintaining the ecological function of top predators is a critical global imperative. Here we review studies of the ecological effects of the dingo Canis lupus dingo, Australia's largest land predator, using this as a case study to explore the influence of a top predator on biodiversity at a continental scale. The dingo was introduced to Australia by people at least 3500 years ago and has an ambiguous status owing to its brief history on the continent, its adverse impacts on livestock production and its role as an ecosystem architect. A large body of research now indicates that dingoes regulate ecological cascades, particularly in arid Australia, and that the removal of dingoes results in an increase in the abundances and impacts of herbivores and invasive mesopredators, most notably the red fox Vulpes vulpes. The loss of dingoes has been linked to widespread losses of small and medium-sized native mammals, the depletion of plant biomass due to the effects of irrupting herbivore populations and increased predation rates by red foxes. We outline a suite of conceptual models to describe the effects of dingoes on vertebrate populations across different Australian environments. Finally, we discuss key issues that require consideration or warrant research before the ecological effects of dingoes can be incorporated formally into biodiversity conservation programs. © 2011 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2011 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

          Related collections

          Most cited references160

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

          Predicting ecological consequences of marine top predator declines.

          Recent studies document unprecedented declines in marine top predators that can initiate trophic cascades. Predicting the wider ecological consequences of these declines requires understanding how predators influence communities by inflicting mortality on prey and inducing behavioral modifications (risk effects). Both mechanisms are important in marine communities, and a sole focus on the effects of predator-inflicted mortality might severely underestimate the importance of predators. We outline direct and indirect consequences of marine predator declines and propose an integrated predictive framework that includes risk effects, which appear to be strongest for long-lived prey species and when resources are abundant. We conclude that marine predators should be managed for the maintenance of both density- and risk-driven ecological processes, and not demographic persistence alone.
            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
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              Patterns of predation in a diverse predator-prey system.

              There are many cases where animal populations are affected by predators and resources in terrestrial ecosystems, but the factors that determine when one or the other predominates remain poorly understood. Here we show, using 40 years of data from the highly diverse mammal community of the Serengeti ecosystem, East Africa, that the primary cause of mortality for adults of a particular species is determined by two factors--the species diversity of both the predators and prey and the body size of that prey species relative to other prey and predators. Small ungulates in Serengeti are exposed to more predators, owing to opportunistic predation, than are larger ungulates; they also suffer greater predation rates, and experience strong predation pressure. A threshold occurs at prey body sizes of approximately 150 kg, above which ungulate species have few natural predators and exhibit food limitation. Thus, biodiversity allows both predation (top-down) and resource limitation (bottom-up) to act simultaneously to affect herbivore populations. This result may apply generally in systems where there is a diversity of predators and prey.
                Bookmark

                Author and article information

                Journal
                Biological Reviews
                Wiley
                14647931
                May 2012
                May 2012
                November 02 2011
                : 87
                : 2
                : 390-413
                Article
                10.1111/j.1469-185X.2011.00203.x
                22051057
                fd24b550-ea93-413b-8f1d-bdef3e8b2725
                © 2011

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

                History

                Comments

                Comment on this article