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A macro-ecological approach to predators' functional responseuse asterix (*) to get italics
Matthieu Barbier, Laurie Wojcik, Michel LoreauPlease use the format "First name initials family name" as in "Marie S. Curie, Niels H. D. Bohr, Albert Einstein, John R. R. Tolkien, Donna T. Strickland"
<p>Predation often deviates from the law of mass action: many micro- and meso-scale experiments have shown that consumption saturates with resource abundance, and decreases due to interference between consumers. But does this observation hold at macro-ecological scales, spanning many species and orders of magnitude in biomass? If so, what are its consequences for large-scale ecological patterns and dynamics? We perform a meta-analysis of predator-prey pairs of mammals, birds and reptiles, and show that predation losses appear to increase, not as the product of predator and prey densities following the Lotka-Volterra (mass action) model, but rather as the square root of that product. This suggests a phenomenological power-law expression of the effective cross-ecosystem functional response. We consider the possibility that the same power-law holds dynamically within an ecosystem, and explore its consequences in a simple food chain model. The empirical exponents fall close to the boundary between regimes of donor and consumer limitation. Exponents on this boundary are singular in multiple ways. First, they maximize predator abundance and some stability metrics. Second, they create proportionality relations between biomass and productivity, both within and between trophic levels. These intuitive relations do not hold in general in mass action models, but are widely observed empirically. These results provide evidence of mechanisms limiting predation across multiple ecological scales. Some of this evidence was previously associated with donor control, but we show that it supports a wider range of possibilities, including forms of consumer control. Limiting consumption counter-intuitively allows larger populations. It is worthwhile to reconsider whether the observed functional response arises from microscopic mechanisms and constraints, or could hint at selective pressure at the population level.</p> should fill this box only if you chose 'All or part of the results presented in this preprint are based on data'. URL must start with http:// or https://
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scaling laws; functional response; predator-prey; food chain; macroecology
NonePlease indicate the methods that may require specialised expertise during the peer review process (use a comma to separate various required expertises).
Community ecology, Food webs, Meta-analyses, Theoretical ecology
No need for them to be recommenders of PCIEcology. Please do not suggest reviewers for whom there might be a conflict of interest. Reviewers are not allowed to review preprints written by close colleagues (with whom they have published in the last four years, with whom they have received joint funding in the last four years, or with whom they are currently writing a manuscript, or submitting a grant proposal), or by family members, friends, or anyone for whom bias might affect the nature of the review - see the code of conduct
e.g. John Doe []
2019-11-08 15:42:16
Samir Simon Suweis