Predation threat alters composition and functioning of bromeliad ecosystems

Hammill, Edd, Atwood, Trisha B. and Srivastava, Diane S. (2015) Predation threat alters composition and functioning of bromeliad ecosystems. Ecosystems, 18 5: 857-866. doi:10.1007/s10021-015-9866-9

Author Hammill, Edd
Atwood, Trisha B.
Srivastava, Diane S.
Title Predation threat alters composition and functioning of bromeliad ecosystems
Journal name Ecosystems   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1435-0629
Publication date 2015-03-25
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10021-015-9866-9
Volume 18
Issue 5
Start page 857
End page 866
Total pages 10
Place of publication New York NY United States
Publisher Springer New York
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Predators can have dramatic effects on food web structure and ecosystem processes. However, the total effect of predators will be a combination of prey removal due to consumption and non-consumptive effects (NCEs) mediated through changes to prey behavioral, morphological, or life history traits induced to reduce predation risk. In this study, we examined how consumptive and NCEs alter community composition and ecosystem function using the aquatic ecosystem housed within tropical bromeliads. We allowed the recolonization of emptied bromeliads containing either no predators, caged predators (NCEs only), or uncaged predators (NCEs and consumptive effects) and recorded densities of all macro-invertebrates, microbial densities, and in situ CO2 concentrations after 30 days. We found that predators altered community composition and CO2 concentrations largely through NCEs. The magnitude of the effects of NCEs was substantial, contributing more than 50% of the total effects of predators on macro-invertebrate communities. The NCEs of predators were also strong enough to generate a trophic cascade, which significantly increased micro-organisms and ecosystem respiration, which led to increased in situ CO2 concentrations. The most likely mechanism behind the NCEs on macro-invertebrate density was detection of predator cues by ovipositing adult females, who actively choose to avoid bromeliads containing predators. Through this mechanism, predator NCEs modified community colonization, the structure of food webs, populations of lower trophic levels, and ecosystem processes performed by the community. We therefore propose that quantification of the relative strength of predator NCEs in natural ecosystems is critical for predicting the consequences of predator loss from the world’s ecosystems.
Keyword Bromeliad communities
CO2 dynamics
Community ecology
Ecosystem function analysis
Ecosystem function
Non-consumptive effects
Trophic cascade
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Global Change Institute Publications
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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