Predator-prey interactions and metabolic rates are altered in stable and unstable groups in a social fish

Liss, Katharina C.M., Lopez, Laura K., Donelson, Jennifer M., and Wong, Marian Y.L. (2020) Predator-prey interactions and metabolic rates are altered in stable and unstable groups in a social fish. Oikos, 129 (6). pp. 842-852.

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Understanding the determinants and consequences of predation effort, success and prey responses is important since these factors affect the fitness of predators and prey. When predators are also invasive species, the impacts on prey can be particularly far-reaching with ultimate ecosystem-level consequences. However, predators are typically viewed as behaviourally fixed within this interaction and it is unclear how variation in predator social dynamics affects predator-prey interactions. Using the invasive eastern mosquitofish Gambusia holbrooki and a native glass shrimp Paratya australiensis in Australia, we investigated how varying levels of social conflict within predator groups influences predator-prey interactions. By experimentally manipulating group stability of G. holbrooki, we show that rates of social conflict were lower in groups with large size differences, but that routine metabolic rates were higher in groups with large size differences. Predation effort and success did not vary depending on group stability, but in stable groups predation effort by aggressive dominants was greater than subordinates. The anti-predator responses of prey to the stability of predator groups were mixed. While more prey utilized shelters when exposed to stable compared to unstable groups of predators, a greater proportion were sedentary when predator groups were unstable. Overall, this study demonstrates predator group stability is modulated by differences in body size and can influence prey responses. Further, it reveals a hidden metabolic cost of living in stable groups despite reduced overt social conflict. For invasive species management, it is therefore important to consider the behavioural and physiological plasticity of the invasive predators, whose complex social interactions and metabolic demands can modulate patterns of predator-prey interactions.

Item ID: 62492
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1600-0706
Keywords: anti-predator, dominance hierarchy, invasive species, metabolic rate, predator-prey, social stability
Copyright Information: © 2020 Nordic Society Oikos. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2020 07:31
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 100%
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