Presentation Title

Do Predators Prefer Seasoning?

Project Collaborators

Nathan Sanders (Supervisor), Aimee Classen (Supervisor), Kenna Rewcastle (Graduate student mentor), Laura Pinover (Undergraduate Collaborator)

Abstract

Abstract:

Predator prey interactions help shape ecosystems from the top down. The dynamics and intensity of these interactions vary geographically. Higher levels of predation has been documented at lower latitudes and elevations (Roslin et al 2017). However, we do not understand how these interactions vary with nutrient availability or across different environmental gradients. In this experiment we examined how predation intensity changes with the addition of sodium and along climatic and urbanization gradients. We used model clay caterpillars glued outside to measure the predation intensity. We found that the rural areas had higher rates of predation than urban areas. Across all habitats and types of predation, there was no overall effect of sodium addition on predation intensity. However, when we considered only arthropod predation, predation intensity was higher on the sodium enriched caterpillars than on control caterpillars. We also saw that the difference of arthropod predation intensity between control and sodium enriched caterpillars was higher in urban rather than rural environments. Our results suggest that sodium addition has an effect on arthropod behavior but not of larger secondary consumers like birds or rodents.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Nathan Sanders

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Program/Major

Environmental Studies

Primary Research Category

Food & Environment Studies

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Do Predators Prefer Seasoning?

Abstract:

Predator prey interactions help shape ecosystems from the top down. The dynamics and intensity of these interactions vary geographically. Higher levels of predation has been documented at lower latitudes and elevations (Roslin et al 2017). However, we do not understand how these interactions vary with nutrient availability or across different environmental gradients. In this experiment we examined how predation intensity changes with the addition of sodium and along climatic and urbanization gradients. We used model clay caterpillars glued outside to measure the predation intensity. We found that the rural areas had higher rates of predation than urban areas. Across all habitats and types of predation, there was no overall effect of sodium addition on predation intensity. However, when we considered only arthropod predation, predation intensity was higher on the sodium enriched caterpillars than on control caterpillars. We also saw that the difference of arthropod predation intensity between control and sodium enriched caterpillars was higher in urban rather than rural environments. Our results suggest that sodium addition has an effect on arthropod behavior but not of larger secondary consumers like birds or rodents.