Temporal constraints on predation risk assessment in a changing world

Chivers, Douglas P., Ramasamy, Ryan A., McCormick, Mark I., Watson, Sue-Ann, Siebeck, Ulrike E., and Ferrari, Maud C.O. (2014) Temporal constraints on predation risk assessment in a changing world. Science of the Total Environment, 500-501. pp. 332-338.

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Habitat degradation takes various forms and likely represents the most significant threat to our global biodiversity. Recently, we have seen considerable attention paid to increasing global CO2 emissions which lead to ocean acidification (OA). Other stressors, such as changing levels of ultraviolet radiation (UVR), also impact biodiversity but have received much less attention in the recent past. Here we examine fundamental questions about temporal aspects of risk assessment by coral reef damselfish and provide critical insights into how OA and UVR influence this assessment. Chemical cues released during a predator attack provide a rich source of information that other prey animals use to mediate their risk of predation and are the basis of the majority of trait-mediated indirect interactions in aquatic communities. However, we have surprisingly limited information about temporal aspects of risk assessment because we lack knowledge about how long chemical cues persist after they are released into the environment. Here, we showed that under ambient CO2 conditions (~ 385 μatm), alarm cues of ambon damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis) did not degrade within 30 min in the absence of ultraviolet radiation (UVR), but were degraded within 15 min when the CO2 was increased to ~ 905 μatm. In experiments that used filters to eliminate UVR, we found minimal degradation of alarm cues within 30 min, whereas under ambient UVR conditions, alarm cues were completely degraded within 15 min. Moreover, in the presence of both UVR and elevated CO2, alarm cues were broken down within 5 min. Our results highlight that alarm cues degrade surprisingly quickly under natural conditions and that anthropogenic changes have the potential to dramatically change rates of cue degradation in the wild. This has considerable implications for risk assessment and consequently the importance of trait-mediated indirect interactions in coral-reef communities.

Item ID: 35887
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-1026
Keywords: global change, ocean acidification, ultraviolet radiation, risk assessment, alarm cues, trait-mediated indirect effects
Funders: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada, Australian Research Council (ARC), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University (JCU)
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2014 01:55
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 25%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 25%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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