Frequency-dependent seed predation by rodents on Sonoran Desert winter annual plants

Jonathan L. Horst, David L Venable

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Numerous mechanisms may allow species to coexist. We tested for frequency-dependent predation, a mechanism predicted by theory and established as a foraging behavior for many types of animals. Our field test included multiple prey species exposed in situ to multiple predator species and individuals to determine whether the prey species experienced predation patterns that were frequency dependent. The prey were seeds of three species of Sonoran Desert winter annual plants while the predator species were a guild of nocturnal seed foraging heteromyid and murid rodents that co-occur naturally in the same community as the desert annuals at Tumamoc Hill near Tucson. Seeds of one species were much preferred over the other two. Nonetheless, we found the net effect of rodent foraging to be positively frequency dependent (the preference for each species is higher when it is common than when it is uncommon) as has been previously hypothesized. This frequency-dependent predation should function as a species coexistence promoting mechanism in concert with the storage effect that has been previously demonstrated for this system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-203
Number of pages8
JournalEcology
Volume99
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

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Sonoran Desert
seed predation
annual plant
rodent
rodents
desert
winter
foraging
predation
seeds
predators
seed
deserts
predator
foraging behavior
guild
animals
coexistence
testing
animal

Keywords

  • foraging theory
  • frequency dependence
  • predator switching
  • seed predation
  • Sonoran Desert
  • species coexistence
  • winter annual plants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Frequency-dependent seed predation by rodents on Sonoran Desert winter annual plants. / Horst, Jonathan L.; Venable, David L.

In: Ecology, Vol. 99, No. 1, 01.01.2018, p. 196-203.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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