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Prey: predator ratio dependence in the functional response of a freshwater amphipod

Authors

  • V. MÉDOC,

    1. INRA, USC Écologie des populations et communautés, Paris, France
    2. Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Sorbonne Universités, UMR Écologie et Évolution, Paris, France
    3. CNRS, UMR Ecologie et Evolution, Paris, France
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  • T. SPATARO,

    1. INRA, USC Écologie des populations et communautés, Paris, France
    2. Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Sorbonne Universités, UMR Écologie et Évolution, Paris, France
    3. CNRS, UMR Ecologie et Evolution, Paris, France
    4. AgroParisTech, Paris, France
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  • R. ARDITI

    1. INRA, USC Écologie des populations et communautés, Paris, France
    2. Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Sorbonne Universités, UMR Écologie et Évolution, Paris, France
    3. CNRS, UMR Ecologie et Evolution, Paris, France
    4. AgroParisTech, Paris, France
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Vincent Médoc, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Sorbonne Universités, UMR Écologie et Évolution, 7 Quai Saint Bernard, Bâtiment A, case 237, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France. E-mail: vincent.medoc@snv.jussieu.fr

Summary

1. First known for their shredding activity, freshwater amphipods also behave as active predators with consequences for prey population regulation and amphipod coexistence in the context of biological invasions.

2. A way to quantify predation is to determine the average consumption rate per predator, also known as its functional response (FR).

3. Although amphipods are gregarious and can display social interactions that can alter per capita consumption rates, previous studies using the FR approach to investigate amphipod predation ignored such potential mutual interference because they did not consider variations in predator density.

4. We investigated the FR of Echinogammarus berilloni feeding on dipteran larvae with joint variations in prey and predator densities. This bivariate experimental design allowed us to estimate interference and to compare the fits of the three main classes of theoretical FR models, in which the predation rate is a function of prey density alone (prey-dependent models), of both prey and predator densities (predator-dependent models) or of the prey-to-predator ratio (ratio-dependent models).

5. The Arditi–Ginzburg ratio-dependent FR model provided the best representation of the FR of E. berilloni, whose predation rate showed a decelerating rise to a horizontal asymptote as prey abundance increased.

6. Ratio dependence means that mutual interference between amphipods leads to prey sharing. Mutual interference is likely to vary between amphipod species, depending on their level of aggressiveness.

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