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Molecular analysis of predation, through polymerase chain reaction amplification of prey remains within the faeces or digestive systems of predators, is a rapidly growing field, impeded by a lack of readily accessible advice on best practice. Here, we review the techniques used to date and provide guidelines accessible to those new to this field or from a(More)
Theoretical developments are helping us to comprehend the basic parameters governing the dynamics of the interactions between generalist predators and their many pest and nonpest prey. In practice, however, inter- and intraspecific interactions between generalist predators, and between the predators and their prey, within multispecies systems under the(More)
The analysis of food webs and their dynamics facilitates understanding of the mechanistic processes behind community ecology and ecosystem functions. Having accurate techniques for determining dietary ranges and components is critical for this endeavour. While visual analyses and early molecular approaches are highly labour intensive and often lack(More)
Collembola comprise a major source of alternative prey to linyphiid spiders in arable fields, helping to sustain and retain these predators as aphid control agents within the crop. Polymerase chain reaction primers were developed for the amplification, from spider gut samples, of DNA from three of the most abundant species of Collembola in wheat crops in(More)
A molecular approach, using aphid-specific monoclonal antibodies, was used to test the hypothesis that alternative prey can affect predation on aphids by linyphiid spiders. These spiders locate their webs in cereal crops within microsites where prey density is high. Previous work demonstrated that of two subfamilies of Linyphiidae, one, the Linyphiinae, is(More)
In many situations prey choice by predators in the field cannot be established or quantified using direct observation. The remains of some prey may be visually identified in the guts and faeces of predators but not all predators ingest such hard remains and even those that do consume them may also ingest soft-bodies prey that leave no recognizable remnants.(More)
Insect parasitoids play a major role in terrestrial food webs as they are highly diverse, exploit a wide range of niches and are capable of affecting host population dynamics. Formidable difficulties are encountered when attempting to quantify host-parasitoid and parasitoid-parasitoid trophic links in diverse parasitoid communities. Here we present a(More)
DNA-based techniques are providing valuable new approaches to tracking predator-prey interactions. The gut contents of invertebrate predators can be analysed using species-specific primers to amplify prey DNA to confirm trophic links. The problem is that each predator needs to be analysed with primers for the tens of potential prey available at a field(More)
Predation on parasitized hosts can significantly affect natural enemy communities, and such intraguild predation may indirectly affect control of herbivore populations. However, the methodological challenges for studying these often complex trophic interactions are formidable. Here, we evaluate a DNA-based approach to track parasitism and predation on(More)
Earthworms play a major role in many aspects of soil fertility, food web ecology and ecosystem functioning, and hence are frequently the subjects of, for example, ecological and toxicological research. Our aim was to examine the genetic structure of common earthworm species, to identify cryptic lineages or species that may be distinct ecotypes or biotypes(More)