Defense Date

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Salvatore J. Agosta, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

James R. Vovesh, Ph.D.

Abstract

When ovipositing, prey organisms avoid habitat patches containing predator cues because predators consume, and negatively affect the fitness of their prey. Richness of predator species often enhances the strength of consumptive predator effects, but little is known about how multiple predators combined affect prey non-consumptively. We quantified dipteran colonization in aquatic mesocosms in response to varied predator richness. Multiple predator species combined reduced oviposition by Culex mosquitoes, chironomid midges, and the general colonizing dipteran community more than predicted by the effects of the independent predator species. Previous research which quantifies effects of multiple predators on prey as prey abundance, but does not measure consumption by predators, may be underestimating or overestimating the strength of effect by assuming equal colonization. Our findings enhance understanding of the ways predators influence abundances and distributions of their prey, and yields insight into the ways predators may non-consumptively affect prey by changing prey behavior.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

8-6-2015

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