Multiple predators in the pelagic: Modelling behavioural cascades

  • Fiksen Ø
  • Eliassen S
  • Titelman J
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The behaviour of predators is rarely considered in models of predator2013prey interactions, nor is it common to include multiple predators in models of animal behaviour. We introduce a model of optimal diel vertical migration in zooplankton prey facing predation from two functionally different predators, fish and other zooplankton. Zooplankton predators are themselves subject to predation from larger zooplankton, and all zooplankton face the classical trade-off between increasing growth rate and predation risk from fish towards the surface. Prey are most vulnerable to zooplankton predators at small sizes, but become more visible to fish as they grow. However, by habitat selection prey continuously manage their exposure to different sources of risk. We analyse situations with cascading behavioural interactions of size-structured predator2013prey interactions in the pelagic. In particular, we explore how vertical gradients in growth rates and relative abundance of fish and zooplankton predators affect optimal distribution patterns, growth and mortality schedules. A major model prediction is that prey susceptibility to one functional predator type depends on the abundance of the other predator. Higher abundance of zooplankton predators leads to risk enhancement from fish, minor increases in predation rate from zooplankton and unchanged prey growth rates. Increasing abundance of fish does not alter the risk from zooplankton predators, but reduces growth and development rates. Such asymmetric emergent effects may be common when prey and predators share the same spatial refuge from a common top predator. Journal of Animal Ecology (2005)doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2005.00937.x

Author-supplied keywords

  • DVM
  • Dynamic programming
  • Emergent effects
  • Multiple predators
  • Zooplankton

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  • Øyvind Fiksen

  • Sigrunn Eliassen

  • Josefin Titelman

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