The Rise of the Mesopredator

  title={The Rise of the Mesopredator},
  author={Laura R. Prugh and Chantal J. Stoner and Clinton W. Epps and William T. Bean and William J. Ripple and Andrea S. Laliberte and Justin S. Brashares},
Apex predators have experienced catastrophic declines throughout the world as a result of human persecution and habitat loss. These collapses in top predator populations are commonly associated with dramatic increases in the abundance of smaller predators. Known as “mesopredator release,” this trophic interaction has been recorded across a range of communities and ecosystems. Mesopredator outbreaks often lead to declining prey populations, sometimes destabilizing communities and driving local… 

Top predators constrain mesopredator distributions

The Enemy Constraint Hypothesis, which predicts weakened top-down effects on mesopredators towards the edge of top predators' ranges, is proposed and shown to increase from the margin towards the core of their ranges, as predicted.

Effects of Culling on Mesopredator Population Dynamics

Although culling is commonly used to control local populations of many mesopredators, it is demonstrated that such practices create severe disruptions in population demography that may be counterproductive to disease management in fragmented landscapes due to an influx of dispersing males into depopulated areas.

Mesopredator release facilitates range expansion in fisher

Data support the hypothesis that a reduced predator community is contributing to the geographic variation in modern fishers' range expansion, and measurements of museum specimens suggest that individuals within released populations have evolved a larger body size since the time of their most contracted range, which may help them hunt larger prey species that are expected to be more available in the absence of larger carnivores.

Mesopredators change temporal activity in response to a recolonizing apex predator

It is suggested that mesopredators in human-dominated systems may perceive humans as less dangerous than apex predators, that humans may be more likely to encounter mesopedators in areas occupied by top predators, and that behaviorally mediated effects of apex predators on mesoparedators persist inhuman-dominated landscapes.

Restoring apex predators can reduce mesopredator abundances

Widespread mesopredator effects after wolf extirpation

What is an apex predator

How the expression of traits that contribute to self-regulation depends on social stability, and the importance of studying predator–prey dynamics in the absence of predator persecution, is discussed.

Disease-induced decline of an apex predator drives invasive dominated states and threatens biodiversity.

The results provide evidence that the devil plays a keystone role in Tasmania's ecosystem with their decline linked to a shift toward an invasive state and biodiversity loss in one of Australia's most intact faunal communities.

Apex Predators Decouple Population Dynamics Between Mesopredators and Their Prey

This study provides evidence that top-down control exerted by apex predators can decouple population dynamics between mesopredators and their prey and thus have primacy over bottom-up effects.

Biotic responses of canids to the terminal Pleistocene megafauna extinction

The results suggest that loss of megaherbivores and competition with humans likely outweighed advantages conferred from the loss of very large predators.



Mesopredator release and avifaunal extinctions in a fragmented system

It appears that the decline and disappearance of the coyote, in conjunction with the effects of habitat fragmentation, affect the distribution and abundance of smaller carnivores and the persistence of their avian prey.

Spatial heterogeneity of mesopredator release within an oceanic island system

It is shown that initial eradication of cats on Little Barrier Island led to reduced breeding success of Cook's petrels, which also are vulnerable to predation by a mesopredator, the Pacific rat.

Trophic control of mesopredators in terrestrial ecosystems: top-down or bottom-up?

This work analyses the response of a mesopredator (the red fox) to declines in top predators and agricultural expansion over 90 years in Sweden, taking bioclimatic effects into account.

Cascading Effects of the Loss of Apex Predatory Sharks from a Coastal Ocean

Impacts of chronic overfishing are evident in population depletions worldwide, yet indirect ecosystem effects induced by predator removal from oceanic food webs remain unpredictable. As abundances of

Can threatened species survive where the top predator is absent

Cats protecting birds: modelling the mesopredator release effect

This work emphasizes that, although counter-intuitive, eradication of introduced superpredators, such as feral domestic cats, is not always the best solution to protect endemic prey when introduced mesopredators,such as rats, are also present.

Range Contractions of North American Carnivores and Ungulates

Abstract We compared the historic and current geographical ranges of 43 North American carnivores and ungulates to identify large-scale patterns in range contractions and expansions. Seventeen of the

Wolves and the Ecology of Fear: Can Predation Risk Structure Ecosystems?

It is indicated that predation risk may have profound effects on the structure of ecosystems and is an important constituent of native biodiversity.

Evaluating the role of the dingo as a trophic regulator in Australian ecosystems

Three broad questions are proposed to clarify not only the impacts of dingoes at all trophic levels, but also the mechanisms by which these impacts occur; the design of appropriate experiments is discussed, using principles that may also be applied to investigate species interactions on other continents.

Ecological Meltdown in Predator-Free Forest Fragments

The densities of seedlings and saplings of canopy trees are severely reduced on herbivore-affected islands, providing evidence of a trophic cascade unleashed in the absence of top-down regulation.