The unique ecology of human predators

  title={The unique ecology of human predators},
  author={Chris T. Darimont and Caroline Hazel Fox and Heather M. Bryan and Thomas E. Reimchen},
  pages={858 - 860}
An anomalous and unbalanced predator In the past century, humans have become the dominant predator across many systems. The species that we target are thus far in considerable decline; however, predators in the wild generally achieve a balance with their prey populations such that both persist. Darimont et al. found several specific differences between how humans and other predatory species target prey populations (see the Perspective by Worm). In marine environments, for example, we regularly… 

A most unusual (super)predator

  • B. Worm
  • Environmental Science
  • 2015
Analyzing an extensive database of 2135 exploited wild animal populations, the authors find that humans take up to 14 times as much adult prey biomass as do other predators.

Random movement of predators can eliminate trophic cascades in marine protected areas

This study built two spatially implicit two-patch predator–prey models with movement of predator and prey between reserve and fishing grounds and shows that post-settlement movement of predators altered the strength of trophic cascades and could increase densities of both predator and focal prey.

Prey tells, large herbivores fear the human ‘super predator’

It is shown that deer most fear the human ‘super predator’, and the results point to the fear humans induce in large ungulates having population- and community-level impacts comparable to those caused by the fear human induced in large carnivores.

Fear and stressing in predator–prey ecology: considering the twin stressors of predators and people on mammals

The need for future studies to consider fear and stress in predator–prey ecology to preserve both biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is highlighted, especially in areas where human disturbance occurs.

Small Prey Animal Habitat Use in Landscapes of Fear: Effects of Predator Presence and Human Activity Along an Urban Disturbance Gradient

Human activity can impose additional stressors to wildlife, both directly and indirectly, including through the introduction of predators and influences on native predators. As urban and adjacent

Ecology and Neurobiology of Fear in Free-Living Wildlife

The ecology of fear concerns the population-, community-, and ecosystem-level consequences of the behavioral interactions between predators and prey, i.e., the aggregate impacts of individual

Effects of Human Disturbance on Terrestrial Apex Predators

This review focuses on the effects of human disturbance on terrestrial apex predators, and discusses several management considerations that, adapted to local contexts, may favor the recovery of apex predator populations and their ecological functions in nature.

Fear of the human ‘super predator’ reduces feeding time in large carnivores

It is revealed that fear is the mechanism driving an ecological cascade from humans to increased puma predation on deer, and support that non-consumptive forms of human disturbance may alter the ecological role of large carnivores.

Fear of the dark? Contrasting impacts of humans vs lynx on diel activity of roe deer across Europe.

This work investigated how lynx predation risk in combination with both lethal and non-lethal human activities affected deer diurnality, and revealed marked plasticity in roe deer diel activity patterns in response to spatio-temporal variations in risk, mostly due to human activities.

Large Felid Predators and “Man-Eaters”: Can We Successfully Balance Conservation of Endangered Apex Predators with the Safety and Needs of Rapidly Expanding Human Populations?

The large felid carnivores are among the most endangered, and the most challenging, species to conserve on this increasingly human-dominated planet. In modern times, large felid carnivores were




  • G. Vermeij
  • Environmental Science
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 2012
It is confirmed that species in the wild cannot achieve immunity from human predation with structural defenses and the only remaining options are to become undesirable or to live in or escape to places where harvesting by people is curtailed.

Human predators outpace other agents of trait change in the wild

It is shown that average phenotypic changes in 40 human-harvested systems are much more rapid than changes reported in studies examining not only natural but also other human-driven perturbations in the wild, outpacing them by >300% and 50%, respectively.

Cascading top-down effects of changing oceanic predator abundances.

  • J. BaumB. Worm
  • Environmental Science
    The Journal of animal ecology
  • 2009
1. Top-down control can be an important determinant of ecosystem structure and function, but in oceanic ecosystems, where cascading effects of predator depletions, recoveries, and invasions could be

Decline in top predator body size and changing climate alter trophic structure in an oceanic ecosystem

The increase in prey biomass was associated primarily with declines in predator body size and secondarily to an increase in stratification, which resulted in a weakening of top predation pressure.

The Rise of the Mesopredator

An overview of mesopredator release is presented and its underlying concepts can be used to improve predator management in an increasingly fragmented world and it is shown that 60% of mesOPredator ranges have expanded, whereas all apex predator ranges have contracted.

Humans as the world's greatest evolutionary force.

Slowing and controlling arms races in disease and pest management have been successful in diverse ecological and economic systems, illustrating how applied evolutionary principles can help reduce the impact of humankind on evolution.

Why fishing magnifies fluctuations in fish abundance

In California Current fisheries, increased temporal variability in the population does not arise from variable exploitation, nor does it reflect direct environmental tracking, but arises from increased instability in dynamics.

Must top predators be culled for the sake of fisheries?

  • P. Yodzis
  • Environmental Science
    Trends in ecology & evolution
  • 2001

Linking Top-Down Forces to the Pleistocene Megafaunal Extinctions

Evidence is presented that the large mammalian herbivores of the North American Pleistocene were primarily predator limited and at low densities, and therefore highly susceptible to extinction when humans were added to the predator guild.

Is humanity sustainable?

  • C. FowlerL. Hobbs
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 2003
This paper reports tests of the hypothesis that the human species is ecologically normal, and argues that other measures should be tested in a similar fashion to assess the prevalence of such differences and their practical implications.