Higher predation risk for insect prey at low latitudes and elevations

Roslin, Tomas and Hardwick, Bess and Novotny, Vojtech and Petry, William K. and Andrew, Nigel R. and Asmus, Ashley L. and Barrio, Isabel C. and Basset, Yves and Boesing, Andrea Larissa and Bonebrake, Timothy C. and Cameron, Erin K. and Dáttilo, Wesley and Donoso, David A. and Drozd, Pavel and Gray, Claudia L. and Hik, David S. and Hill, Sarah J. and Hopkins, Tapani and Huang, Shuyin and Koane, Bonny and Laird-Hopkins, Benita and Laukkanen, Liisa and Lewis, Owen T. and Milne, Sol and Mwesige, Isaiah and Nakamura, Akihiro and Nell, Colleen S. and Nichols, Elizabeth S. and Prokurat, Alena and Sam, Katerina and Schmidt, Niels M. and Slade, Alison and Slade, Victor and Suchanková, Alžběta and Teder, Tiit and van Nouhuys, Saskya and Vandvik, Vigdis and Weissflog, Anita and Zhukovich, Vital and Slade, Eleanor Margaret (2017) Higher predation risk for insect prey at low latitudes and elevations. Science, 356 (6339). pp. 742-744. ISSN 0036-8075

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Biotic interactions underlie ecosystem structure and function, but predicting interaction outcomes is difficult. We tested the hypothesis that biotic interaction strength increases toward the equator, using a global experiment with model caterpillars to measure predation risk. Across an 11,660-kilometer latitudinal gradient spanning six continents, we found increasing predation toward the equator, with a parallel pattern of increasing predation toward lower elevations. Patterns across both latitude and elevation were driven by arthropod predators, with no systematic trend in attack rates by birds or mammals. These matching gradients at global and regional scales suggest consistent drivers of biotic interaction strength, a finding that needs to be integrated into general theories of herbivory, community organization, and life-history evolution.

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© 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights Reserved.
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23 May 2017 12:24
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21 Apr 2024 23:59