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Predator-dependent functional response in wolves: from food limitation to surplus killing

Zimmermann, Barbara and Sand, Håkan and Wabakken, Petter and Liberg, Olof and Andreassen, Harry Peter (2015). Predator-dependent functional response in wolves: from food limitation to surplus killing. Journal of animal ecology. 84:1, 102-112
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12280

Abstract

The functional response of a predator describes the change in per capita kill rate to changes in prey density. This response can be influenced by predator densities, giving a predator-dependent functional response. In social carnivores which defend a territory, kill rates also depend on the individual energetic requirements of group members and their contribution to the kill rate. This study aims to provide empirical data for the functional response of wolves Canis lupus to the highly managed moose Alces alces population in Scandinavia. We explored prey and predator dependence, and how the functional response relates to the energetic requirements of wolf packs. Winter kill rates of GPS-collared wolves and densities of cervids were estimated for a total of 22 study periods in 15 wolf territories. The adult wolves were identified as the individuals responsible for providing kills to the wolf pack, while pups could be described as inept hunters. The predator-dependent, asymptotic functional response models (i.e. Hassell-Varley type II and Crowley-Martin) performed best among a set of 23 competing linear, asymptotic and sigmoid models. Small wolf packs acquired >3 times as much moose biomass as required to sustain their field metabolic rate (FMR), even at relatively low moose abundances. Large packs (6-9 wolves) acquired less biomass than required in territories with low moose abundance. We suggest the surplus killing by small packs is a result of an optimal foraging strategy to consume only the most nutritious parts of easy accessible prey while avoiding the risk of being detected by humans. Food limitation may have a stabilizing effect on pack size in wolves, as supported by the observed negative relationship between body weight of pups and pack size.

Authors/Creators:Zimmermann, Barbara and Sand, Håkan and Wabakken, Petter and Liberg, Olof and Andreassen, Harry Peter
Title:Predator-dependent functional response in wolves: from food limitation to surplus killing
Series/Journal:Journal of animal ecology (1365-2656)
Year of publishing :2015
Volume:84
Number:1
Page range:102-112
Number of Pages:11
Publisher:British Ecological Society
ISSN:1365-2656
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Refereed:Yes
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:L Animal production > L20 Animal ecology
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Zoology
Agrovoc terms:predation, predator prey relations, canis lupus, elks
Keywords:canis lupus, faecal pellet group count, hunting success, kill-handling time, moose, numerical response, optimal foraging, predation, scavenging, social organization
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-2812
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-2812
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000346909300010
DOI10.1111/1365-2656.12280
ID Code:12392
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:29 Jul 2015 11:46
Metadata Last Modified:14 Dec 2015 21:01

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