Assessing multiple predator, diurnal and search area effects on predatory impacts by ephemeral wetland specialist copepods

Ross N. Cuthbert*, Tatenda Dalu, Ryan J. Wasserman, Cristián J. Monaco, Amanda Callaghan, Olaf L.F. Weyl, Jaimie T.A. Dick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Predator–prey interaction strengths can be highly context-dependent. In particular, multiple predator effects (MPEs), variations in predator sex and physical habitat characteristics may affect prey consumption rates and thus the persistence of lower trophic groups. Ephemeral wetlands are transient ecosystems in which predatory copepods can be numerically dominant. We examine the interaction strengths of a specialist copepod Paradiaptomus lamellatus towards mosquito prey in the presence of conspecifics using a functional response approach. Further, we examine sex variability in predation rates of P. lamellatus under circadian and surface area variations. Then, we assess the influence of a co-occurring heterospecific predatory copepod, Lovenula raynerae, on total predation rates. We demonstrate MPEs on consumption, with antagonism between conspecific P. lamellatus predatory units evident, irrespective of prey density. Furthermore, we show differences between sexes in interaction strengths, with female P. lamellatus significantly more voracious than males, irrespective of time of day and experimental arena surface area. Predation rates by P. lamellatus were significantly lower than the heterospecific calanoid copepod L. raynerae, whilst heterospecific copepod groups exhibited the greatest predatory impact. Our results provide insights into the predation dynamics by specialist copepods, wherein species density, diversity and sex affect interaction strengths. In turn, this may influence population-level persistence of lower trophic groups under shifting copepod predator composition.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAquatic Ecology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Calanoid copepod
  • Functional response
  • Lovenula raynerae
  • Multiple predator effects
  • Paradiaptomus lamellatus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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