Special Issue "Predators as Agents of Selection and Diversification"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Mark C. Belk
Website
Guest Editor
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA
Interests: predator-prey interactions, life history evolution, native fish conservation, fisheries, parasites, burying beetles, fishes
Dr. Jerald B. Johnson
Website
Guest Editor
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, United States
Interests: evolutionary ecology; speciation; life history evolution; phylogeography; behavioral ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Predators are important agents of selection in most natural systems. Our goals for this collection of papers are: 1) to explore the variety of traits, in both predator and prey, that result from predator/prey interactions, including coevolved suites of traits; 2) to explore how selection via predation acts through both direct and indirect effects of predators; and 3) to explore the linkages between selection from predation and diversity at multiple scales. We invite papers that address any of these areas either in review, or as empirical case studies. Papers that present a strictly ecological analysis of predation would not fit within this scope.

Dr. Mark C. Belk
Dr. Jerald B. Johnson
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Predation;
  • Evolutionary effects;
  • Selection;
  • Diversification;
  • Coevolution;
  • Direct and indirect selective effects;
  • Adaptive trait variation;
  • Antipredator adaptations;
  • Evolutionary arms race

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Interactions among Shade, Caching Behavior, and Predation Risk May Drive Seed Trait Evolution in Scatter-Hoarded Plants
Diversity 2020, 12(11), 416; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12110416 - 31 Oct 2020
Abstract
Although dispersal is critical to plant life history, the relationships between seed traits and dispersal success in animal-dispersed plants remain unclear due to complex interactions among the effects of seed traits, habitat structure, and disperser behavior. We propose that in plants dispersed by [...] Read more.
Although dispersal is critical to plant life history, the relationships between seed traits and dispersal success in animal-dispersed plants remain unclear due to complex interactions among the effects of seed traits, habitat structure, and disperser behavior. We propose that in plants dispersed by scatter-hoarding granivores, seed trait evolution may have been driven by selective pressures that arise from interactions between seedling shade intolerance and predator-mediated caching behavior. Using an optimal foraging model that accounts for cache concealment, hoarder memory, and perceived predation risk, we show that hoarders can obtain cache-recovery advantages by placing caches in moderately risky locations that force potential pilferers to engage in high levels of vigilance. Our model also demonstrates that the level of risk needed to optimally protect a cache increases with the value of the cached food item. If hoarders perceive less sheltered, high-light conditions to be more risky and use this information to protect their caches, then shade-intolerant plants may increase their fitness by producing seeds with traits valued by hoarders. Consistent with this hypothesis, shade tolerance in scatter-hoarded tree species is inversely related to the value of their seeds as perceived by a scatter-hoarding rodent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Predators as Agents of Selection and Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
Life History Divergence in Livebearing Fishes in Response to Predation: Is There a Microevolution to Macroevolution Barrier?
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050179 - 05 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
A central problem in evolutionary biology is to determine whether adaptive phenotypic variation within species (microevolution) ultimately gives rise to new species (macroevolution). Predation environment can select for trait divergence among populations within species. The implied hypothesis is that the selection resulting from [...] Read more.
A central problem in evolutionary biology is to determine whether adaptive phenotypic variation within species (microevolution) ultimately gives rise to new species (macroevolution). Predation environment can select for trait divergence among populations within species. The implied hypothesis is that the selection resulting from predation environment that creates population divergence within species would continue across the speciation boundary such that patterns of divergence after speciation would be a magnified accumulation of the trait variation observed before speciation. In this paper, we test for congruence in the mechanisms of microevolution and macroevolution by comparing the patterns of life history divergence among three closely related species of the livebearer genus Brachyrhaphis (Poeciliidae), namely B. rhabdophora, B. roseni, and B. terrabensis. Within B. rhabdophora, populations occur in either predator or predator-free environments, and have been considered to be at a nascent stage of speciation. Sister species B. roseni and B. terrabensis are segregated into predator and predator-free environments, respectively, and represent a post-speciation comparison. Male and female size at maturity, clutch size, and offspring size (and to a lesser extent reproductive allocation) all diverged according to predation environment and differences were amplified through evolutionary time, i.e., across the speciation boundary. Variation observed among nascent species differentiated by predation environment is a good predictor of variation among established species differentiated by predation environment. We found no evidence for different processes or different levels of selection acting across the speciation boundary, suggesting that macroevolution in these species can be understood as an accumulation of micro-evolutionary changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Predators as Agents of Selection and Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
Intraspecific Behavioral Variation Mediates Insect Prey Survival via Direct and Indirect Effects
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040152 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Conspecific individuals often exhibit behavioral differences that influence susceptibility to predation. Yet, how such trait differences scale to affect prey population regulation and community structure remains unclear. We used an 8 day field mesocosm experiment to explore the effects of intraspecific prey behavioral [...] Read more.
Conspecific individuals often exhibit behavioral differences that influence susceptibility to predation. Yet, how such trait differences scale to affect prey population regulation and community structure remains unclear. We used an 8 day field mesocosm experiment to explore the effects of intraspecific prey behavioral trait variation on survival in an herbivorous insect community. We further manipulated spider predator composition to test for top-down context-dependence of behavioral effects. Insect prey behavioral trait variance influenced survival through both direct (i.e., variation among conspecifics) and indirect (i.e., variation among heterospecifics) mechanisms. The behavioral variance of two prey species, Philaenus and Orchelimum, directly reduced their survival, though for Philaenus, this direct negative effect only occurred in the presence of a single spider predator species. In contrast, the survival of Scudderia was enhanced by the behavioral trait variance of the surrounding insect community, an indirect positive effect. Taken together, these results emphasize the importance of accounting for intraspecific variation in community ecology, demonstrating novel pathways by which individual-level behavioral differences scale to alter population and community level patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Predators as Agents of Selection and Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
Aggressive Predation Drives Assembly of Adriatic Fish Communities
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040130 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
We performed over 19,000 lure-assisted, underwater visual fish census transects at over 140 shallow coastal sampling locations in the mid- eastern Adriatic sea of the Croatian mainland and islands, recording all fish taxa observed, their predatory behavior in response to the lure, and [...] Read more.
We performed over 19,000 lure-assisted, underwater visual fish census transects at over 140 shallow coastal sampling locations in the mid- eastern Adriatic sea of the Croatian mainland and islands, recording all fish taxa observed, their predatory behavior in response to the lure, and the cover of benthic habitats with which they were associated. We hypothesized that prey habitat preference was a learned or selected response to aggressive behavior by piscivorous mesopredators, and predicted that mobile prey would be spatially segregated from aggressive predators into different benthic habitats within local sampling sites. We found that aggressive piscivores were primarily wait-chase or cruise-chase mesopredators that preferentially foraged along heterogeneous habitat edges within juxtapositions of rock, unconsolidated sediment, macroalgae (Cystoseira spp.) and seagrass (usually Posidonia oceanica). Prey species and less aggressive piscivores avoided these heterogeneous habitats and preferred more homogeneous habitats that the aggressive predators in turn avoided. We found strong and consistent spatial segregation between aggressive predators on the one hand, and less aggressive predators and prey on the other hand. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that aggressive behavior by piscivorous species is the primary organizing force shaping assembly of fish communities at our study sites, driving preference and occupancy of heterogeneous and homogeneous benthic habitats. Management of shallow benthic resources should recognize the value of complementarity in habitats allowing coexistence of predators and prey through contrasting habitat preferences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Predators as Agents of Selection and Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
Crypsis Decreases with Elevation in a Lizard
Diversity 2019, 11(12), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11120236 - 07 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Predation usually selects for visual crypsis, the colour matching between an animal and its background. Geographic co-variation between animal and background colourations is well known, but how crypsis varies along elevational gradients remains unknown. We predict that dorsal colouration in the lizard Psammodromus [...] Read more.
Predation usually selects for visual crypsis, the colour matching between an animal and its background. Geographic co-variation between animal and background colourations is well known, but how crypsis varies along elevational gradients remains unknown. We predict that dorsal colouration in the lizard Psammodromus algirus should covary with the colour of bare soil—where this lizard is mainly found—along a 2200 m elevational gradient in Sierra Nevada (SE Spain). Moreover, we predict that crypsis should decrease with elevation for two reasons: (1) Predation pressure typically decreases with elevation, and (2) at high elevation, dorsal colouration is under conflicting selection for both crypsis and thermoregulation. By means of standardised photographies of the substratum and colourimetric measurements of lizard dorsal skin, we tested the colour matching between lizard dorsum and background. We found that, along the gradient, lizard dorsal colouration covaried with the colouration of bare soil, but not with other background elements where the lizard is rarely detected. Moreover, supporting our prediction, the degree of crypsis against bare soil decreased with elevation. Hence, our findings suggest local adaptation for crypsis in this lizard along an elevational gradient, but this local adaptation would be hindered at high elevations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Predators as Agents of Selection and Diversification)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Predators as Agents of Selection and Diversification
Diversity 2020, 12(11), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12110415 - 31 Oct 2020
Abstract
Predation is ubiquitous in nature and can be an important component of both ecological and evolutionary interactions. One of the most striking features of predators is how often they cause evolutionary diversification in natural systems. Here, we review several ways that this can [...] Read more.
Predation is ubiquitous in nature and can be an important component of both ecological and evolutionary interactions. One of the most striking features of predators is how often they cause evolutionary diversification in natural systems. Here, we review several ways that this can occur, exploring empirical evidence and suggesting promising areas for future work. We also introduce several papers recently accepted in Diversity that demonstrate just how important and varied predation can be as an agent of natural selection. We conclude that there is still much to be done in this field, especially in areas where multiple predator species prey upon common prey, in certain taxonomic groups where we still know very little, and in an overall effort to actually quantify mortality rates and the strength of natural selection in the wild. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Predators as Agents of Selection and Diversification)
Open AccessReview
Knowing the Enemy: Inducible Defences in Freshwater Zooplankton
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040147 - 07 Apr 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Phenotypic plasticity in defensive traits is an appropriate mechanism to cope with the variable hazard of a frequently changing predator spectrum. In the animal kingdom these so-called inducible defences cover the entire taxonomic range from protozoans to vertebrates. The inducible defensive traits range [...] Read more.
Phenotypic plasticity in defensive traits is an appropriate mechanism to cope with the variable hazard of a frequently changing predator spectrum. In the animal kingdom these so-called inducible defences cover the entire taxonomic range from protozoans to vertebrates. The inducible defensive traits range from behaviour, morphology, and life-history adaptations to the activation of specific immune systems in vertebrates. Inducible defences in prey species play important roles in the dynamics and functioning of food webs. Freshwater zooplankton show the most prominent examples of inducible defences triggered by chemical cues, so-called kairomones, released by predatory invertebrates and fish. The objective of this review is to highlight recent progress in research on inducible defences in freshwater zooplankton concerning behaviour, morphology, and life-history, as well as difficulties of studies conducted in a multipredator set up. Furthermore, we outline costs associated with the defences and discuss difficulties as well as the progress made in characterizing defence-inducing cues. Finally, we aim to indicate further possible routes in this field of research and provide a comprehensive table of inducible defences with respect to both prey and predator species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Predators as Agents of Selection and Diversification)
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Open AccessReview
Effect of Predation on Shaping Parental Brood Defense and Larval Ontogeny of Convict Cichlids Leading to Population Divergence
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040136 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
(1) Predation selects for antipredator competence in prey. For fishes with parental care, brood predators exert selection on the morphological phenotype of offspring, and also exert strong selection pressure to promote parental care behavior of adults. (2) This review summarizes field and lab [...] Read more.
(1) Predation selects for antipredator competence in prey. For fishes with parental care, brood predators exert selection on the morphological phenotype of offspring, and also exert strong selection pressure to promote parental care behavior of adults. (2) This review summarizes field and lab studies on the ontogeny of antipredator competence in convict cichlids, a freshwater fish with extended biparental care of their free-swimming young. (3) Here, data show that differences in swimming performance between small and large young are exploited by parents when they adopt (smaller) young. Velocity and acceleration of startle responses improves nonlinearly with body size, increasing rapidly at a point when the skeleton rapidly ossifies from cartilage to bone, at the size at which discrimination by adopting parents shifts, and the timing of change in the rate of change in area protected by parents. Convict cichlids in a Nicaraguan lake population showed a similar correlation among these traits, but these traits are delayed relative to Costa Rican fish. (4) Population divergence is likely explained by relatively more intense brood predation in the lake, which selects for different optima of larval antipredator competence and parental brood defense. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Predators as Agents of Selection and Diversification)
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