Addressing a potential weakness in indices of predation, herbivory, and parasitism
Quantification of predation, herbivory, and parasitism is critical to understanding the dynamics and trophic interactions of populations in an ecosystem. Such quantification can be challenging if the availability or consumption of the taxa are difficult to assess. Sometimes the consumption of a single prey, forage, or host is used as an overall index of the predation, herbivory, or parasitism for a population of interest. Occasionally, human-manipulated baits are used to derive similar indices. However, all such indices are susceptible to influence by variation in the abundance of the preferred taxon relative to other taxa as the result of preference switching. In this article, I describe a test for preference switching (and an adjustment, if detected) that does not require availability and consumption of the prey (forage, or host) to be measured on the same scale. The ability to detect and adjust for preference switching in such situations may advance the understanding of biological preference in taxa not previously studied in this respect.
|Addressing a potential weakness in indices of predation, herbivory, and parasitism
|Jean V. Adams
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Great Lakes Science Center