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Trophic control of mesopredators in terrestrial ecosystems: top-down or bottom-up?
Newcastle University.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5496-4727
Newcastle Univsersity.
2007 (English)In: Ecology Letters, ISSN 1461-023X, E-ISSN 1461-0248, Vol. 10, no 3, 197-206 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It has been argued that widespread extinctions of top predators have changed terrestrial ecosystem structures through mesopredator release, where increased abundances of medium-sized predators have detrimental effects on prey communities. This top-down concept has received much attention within conservation biology, but few studies have demonstrated the phenomenon. The concept has been criticized since alternative explanations involving bottom-up impacts from bioclimatic effects on ecosystem productivity and from anthropogenic habitat change are rarely considered. We analyse the response of a mesopredator (the red fox) to declines in top predators (wolf and Eurasian lynx) and agricultural expansion over 90 years in Sweden, taking bioclimatic effects into account. We show a top-down mesopredator release effect, but ecosystem productivity determined its strength. The impacts of agricultural activity were mediated by their effects on top predator populations. Thus, both top-down and bottom-up processes need to be understood for effective preservation of biodiversity in anthropogenically transformed ecosystems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 10, no 3, 197-206 p.
National Category
Research subject
Animal Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-41660DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2006.01010.xOAI: diva2:331968
Formas, 2004-898
Available from: 2010-07-29 Created: 2010-07-29 Last updated: 2014-10-09Bibliographically approved

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Elmhagen, Bodil
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