Do edge responses cascade up or down a multi-trophic food web?
Article first published online: 25 JUL 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS
Volume 14, Issue 9, pages 863–870, September 2011
How to Cite
Wimp, G. M., Murphy, S. M., Lewis, D. and Ries, L. (2011), Do edge responses cascade up or down a multi-trophic food web?. Ecology Letters, 14: 863–870. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01656.x
- Issue published online: 7 AUG 2011
- Article first published online: 25 JUL 2011
- Editor, Ferenc Jordan Manuscript received 17 Feburary 2011 First decision made 23 march 2011 Second decision made 26 may 2011 Manuscript accepted 13 June 2011
- Ecological boundary;
- edge effects;
- habitat fragmentation;
- predictive model;
- resource distribution
Ecology Letters (2011) 14: 863–870
Despite nearly 100 years of edge studies, there has been little effort to document how edge responses ‘cascade’ to impact multi-trophic food webs. We examined changes within two, four-tiered food webs located on opposite sides of a habitat edge. Based on a ‘bottom-up’ resource-based model, we predicted plant resources would decline near edges, causing similar declines in specialist herbivores and their associated predators, while a generalist predator was predicted to increase due to complementary resource use. As predicted, we found declines in both specialist herbivores and predators near edges, but, contrary to expectations, this was not driven by gradients in plant resources. Instead, the increase in generalist predators near edges offers one alternative explanation for the observed declines. Furthermore, our results suggest how recent advances in food web theory could improve resource-based edge models, and vice versa.