About this Research Topic
Predation is a major evolutionary and ecological process that shapes population dynamics and species community structure directly, via lethal effects, but also indirectly, through non-lethal “fear” effects. Animals will distribute in the landscape not only depending on the availability of resources and density of competitors, but also according to the distribution of predators. Prey move to reduce the risk of encountering predators while predators will move toward areas rich in prey. Spatial distribution of predators and prey is especially complicated in the case of intra-guild predation risk, e.g. when predation occurs among predators. This will result in a mosaic of risky/safe areas known as the “landscape of fear”. Predator presence, perceived at any level of the trophic cascade, will strongly affect prey fitness by affecting not only their behavior but also by inducing a physiological stress response. In addition, predator characteristics like personality or hunting strategy can also affect the perceived predation risk and the resulting landscape of fear. Finally, predation risk perceived during breeding can also have intergenerational effects because “stressed” parents can modify their offspring phenotype (growth, condition, and behavior) via predator-induced parental effects.
In this Research Topic we want to gather the most recent discoveries on how individual variation in predator and prey behavior influence prey physiological responses and perceived predation risk. Non-consumptive effects have been extensively studied but it remains ambiguous whether predation risk can have long-term effects that could last across the lifetime of the prey. It is known that prey can modify their behavior in response to direct cues of predator presence, but the long-term consequences of these antipredator responses and how these responses vary according to the mosaic of present and past information prey can gather across their lifetime remains unclear. Moreover, prey personality could also impact how each individual responds to predation risk and how persistent its response will be during its lifetime, but individual differences in stress response are still understudied. Further research is also needed on the effects of predator behavioral traits on the strength of the landscape of fear. Finally, it is known that predation risk perceived by parents can also affect their offspring, but whether these intergenerational effects are adaptive in terms of offspring fitness or whether they are a mere consequence of physiological maternal stress is still largely debated.
We aim to fill this gap in knowledge by highlighting novel research on the effects of behavioral traits of individual predators and prey on the landscape of fear, going from short-term physiological responses to long-term responses to predation risk persistent during prey’s life. Studies on prey public information use, spatial distribution at the landscape level, and the impact of predator and prey personality on antipredator responses are encouraged. Finally, within this Research Topic we aim to understand the impact of predator-induced parental effects and investigate their possible adaptive role within and across generations. We welcome original research articles, using both experimental and large scale correlative studies, as well as reviews.
Keywords: trophic interactions, landscape of fear, stress, antipredator strategies, predator personality
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