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The Biology of Deserts$
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David Ward

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198732754

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732754.001.0001

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The Importance of Predation and Parasitism

The Importance of Predation and Parasitism

(p.128) 6 The Importance of Predation and Parasitism
The Biology of Deserts

David Ward

Oxford University Press

A number of excellent experimental studies have demonstrated the importance of predation in structuring desert ecosystems, and how predation and competition interact to structure desert communities. Predation can be effective by direct mortality and the predation risk experienced by the animal. Predation risk is the behavioural change related to the risk of predation experienced by the animal and takes away from time available for foraging. Herbivores often forage across landscapes that differ considerably in terms of predation risk. These have been termed ‘landscapes of fear’. Interference competition may mimic the effect of predation risk on foragers. If subordinate individuals exhibit a high degree of vigilance towards their dominant competitors, this may well reduce their foraging efficiency and reduce vigilance against predators. This may cause subordinate individuals to select alternative patches and habitats that do not have the same dominant competitors. This is known as apparent predation risk.

Keywords:   predation risk, parasitism, parasitoids, direct mortality, landscapes of fear, priority effects, keystone predation, trophic cascades, mesopredators, fleas

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