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Predators do more than kill prey
Date:1/17/2008

sity of evolutionary changes in prey than had been considered, said Reznick, the papers only coauthor. Conversely, it means that the reintroduction of predators, which is an ongoing practice, such as in the reintroduction of wolves in the United States, demands more caution than is currently practiced since the prey will have adapted to a new environment in the time that predators were absent and will be ill prepared in more ways than had been imagined for the reintroduction of predators.

Likewise, the crash that we have seen in the populations of many commercially exploited species of fish, and their failure to recover when fishing pressure is reduced, has been attributed to such indirect restructuring of the ecosystem.

Since predator-induced indirect increases in resource availability are common in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, the evolutionary consequences of these interactions are potentially a very important component of evolutionary change in nature, Reznick added. Moreover, biologists have observed evolutionary change occurring on short ecological timescales in nature, on the order of a few years to decades, suggesting that such interactions are contributing to overall ecosystem functioning and health.


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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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