Defining and measuring the impact of dynamic traits on interspecific interactions

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2007
Authors:P. A. Abrams
Pagination:2555 - 2562
Date Published:2007///
ISBN Number:0012-9658
Keywords:defense, ecology, food webs, indirect effects, indirect interactions, interactions, INTERSPECIFIC INTERACTIONS, PREDATOR, predators, PREY

Trait- and density-mediated indirect effects describe different pathways by which indirect interactions in food webs are propagated from one species to another, through changes in intermediate species. A series of articles in Ecology has progressively altered the original definitions of "trait-mediated’’ to the point where understanding is being impeded. The most recent of these articles are two meta-analyses that use "trait-mediated’’ to describe the demographic costs to a prey species of employing anti-predator defenses. These same articles introduce a companion term, "density-mediated interaction,’’ apparently to describe direct and indirect interactions that only involve changes in population density due to consumption by predators. This new terminology has many disadvantages, including ( 1) using a general term for a relatively narrow group of processes; ( 2) using "mediated’’ in a manner inconsistent with existing terminology; ( 3) confusing the accepted definitions of different types of indirect effects; and ( 4) providing a highly incomplete measure of the impact of behavior on the predator - prey interaction. Solutions to these problems and the meaning of the meta-analyses are discussed

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith