Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human activity displaces predators more than prey

Date:
March 7, 2011
Source:
University of Calgary
Summary:
Prey species have an advantage over predators in wilderness areas subject to human disturbance related to recreation and resource development, according to a study conducted in the Rocky Mountain foothills near Calgary.

Elk. Researchers found that prey were three times more abundant on roads and trails used by more than 32 humans a day, but predators were less abundant on roads and trails used by more than 18 humans a day.
Credit: iStockphoto

A new paper by University of Calgary researchers, published March 4 in PLoS ONE, demonstrates the edge given to prey in the "space race" by human activity.

Related Articles


The research was conducted by two University of Calgary students, a University of Calgary Post-Doctoral Fellow and two University of Calgary professors from the Faculty of Environmental Design, Department of Geomatics in the Schulich School of Engineering and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. The research looked at how predator-prey interactions and use of space were influenced by human activity.

The team deployed 43 digital camera traps at randomly selected locations along roads and trails within a research area on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in southwest Alberta from April to November of 2008. Large predator animals in the study area consisted of wolves, black bears, grizzly bears and cougars. While the large herbivore species monitored were moose, elk, white-tailed deer, mule deer and cattle.

They found that humans and prey species co-occurred together more often than humans and predators at camera sites, and that predators and prey were less likely to be in the same area if there was heavy human traffic. Their results showed that prey were three times more abundant on roads and trails used by more than 32 humans a day, but predators were less abundant on roads and trails used by more than 18 humans a day.

"The research shows that humans might displace large mammalian predators," says Tyler Muhly, corresponding author of the paper and a PhD graduate from the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary (currently with Alberta Innovates Technology Futures). "This provides a positive indirect effect on large mammalian prey species that are less sensitive to humans."

The research suggests that limiting human use of roads and trails in wildlife areas to less than 18 people a day might reduce the effects on the large mammalian food web, but a growing human population means that the effects on wildlife food webs will likely increase.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Calgary. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tyler B. Muhly, Christina Semeniuk, Alessandro Massolo, Laura Hickman, Marco Musiani. Human Activity Helps Prey Win the Predator-Prey Space Race. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (3): e17050 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017050

Cite This Page:

University of Calgary. "Human activity displaces predators more than prey." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303141555.htm>.
University of Calgary. (2011, March 7). Human activity displaces predators more than prey. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303141555.htm
University of Calgary. "Human activity displaces predators more than prey." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110303141555.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins