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Silberbush A.,Haifa University | Markman S.,Haifa University | Lewinsohn E.,Newe Yaar Research Center | Bar E.,Newe Yaar Research Center | And 2 more authors.
Ecology Letters | Year: 2010

Prey species commonly use predator-released kairomones (PRKs) to detect risk of predation, yet the chemical identity of PRKs remains elusive. Chemical identification of PRKs will facilitate the study of predator-prey interactions and the risk of predation, and when the prey are pests, will potentially provide environmentally friendly means of pest control. In temporary pools of the Mediterranean and Middle East, larvae of the mosquito Culiseta longiareolata Macquart are highly vulnerable to the common predatory backswimmer, Notonecta maculata Fabricius. We demonstrate that N. maculata releases two hydrocarbons, n-heneicosane and n-tricosane, which repel ovipositing females of C. longiareolata. In behavioural tests with environmentally relevant chemical concentrations in outdoor mesocosm experiments, the repellent effects of the two compounds were additive at the tested concentrations. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

Cohen J.E.,Rockefeller and Columbia Universities | Plank M.J.,University of Canterbury | Law R.,University of York
Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2012

Taylor's law (TL), which states that variance in population density is related to mean density via a power law, and density-mass allometry, which states that mean density is related to body mass via a power law, are two of the most widely observed patterns in ecology. Combining these two laws predicts that the variance in density is related to body mass via a power law (variance-mass allometry). Marine size spectra are known to exhibit density-mass allometry, but variance-mass allometry has not been investigated. We show that variance and body mass in unexploited size spectrum models are related by a power law, and that this leads to TL with an exponent slightly <2. These simulated relationships are disrupted less by balanced harvesting, in which fishing effort is spread across a wide range of body sizes, than by size-at-entry fishing, in which only fish above a certain size may legally be caught.

Gurtler R.E.,University of Buenos Aires | Cecere M.C.,University of Buenos Aires | Vazquez-Prokopec G.M.,University of Buenos Aires | Vazquez-Prokopec G.M.,Emory University | And 5 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2014

Background:The host species composition in a household and their relative availability affect the host-feeding choices of blood-sucking insects and parasite transmission risks. We investigated four hypotheses regarding factors that affect blood-feeding rates, proportion of human-fed bugs (human blood index), and daily human-feeding rates of Triatoma infestans, the main vector of Chagas disease.Methods:A cross-sectional survey collected triatomines in human sleeping quarters (domiciles) of 49 of 270 rural houses in northwestern Argentina. We developed an improved way of estimating the human-feeding rate of domestic T. infestans populations. We fitted generalized linear mixed-effects models to a global model with six explanatory variables (chicken blood index, dog blood index, bug stage, numbers of human residents, bug abundance, and maximum temperature during the night preceding bug catch) and three response variables (daily blood-feeding rate, human blood index, and daily human-feeding rate). Coefficients were estimated via multimodel inference with model averaging.Findings:Median blood-feeding intervals per late-stage bug were 4.1 days, with large variations among households. The main bloodmeal sources were humans (68%), chickens (22%), and dogs (9%). Blood-feeding rates decreased with increases in the chicken blood index. Both the human blood index and daily human-feeding rate decreased substantially with increasing proportions of chicken- or dog-fed bugs, or the presence of chickens indoors. Improved calculations estimated the mean daily human-feeding rate per late-stage bug at 0.231 (95% confidence interval, 0.157-0.305).Conclusions and Significance:Based on the changing availability of chickens in domiciles during spring-summer and the much larger infectivity of dogs compared with humans, we infer that the net effects of chickens in the presence of transmission-competent hosts may be more adequately described by zoopotentiation than by zooprophylaxis. Domestic animals in domiciles profoundly affect the host-feeding choices, human-vector contact rates and parasite transmission predicted by a model based on these estimates. © 2014 Gürtler et al.

Lagrue C.,University of Otago | Poulin R.,University of Otago | Cohen J.E.,Rockefeller and Columbia Universities
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

How do the lifestyles (free-living unparasitized, free-living parasitized, and parasitic) of animal species affect major ecological power-law relationships? We investigated this question in metazoan communities in lakes of Otago, New Zealand. In 13,752 samples comprising 1,037,058 organisms, we found that species of different lifestyles differed in taxonomic distribution and body mass and were well described by three power laws: a spatial Taylor's law (the spatial variance in population density was a power-law function of the spatial mean population density); density-mass allometry (the spatial mean population density was a power-law function of mean body mass); and variance-mass allometry (the spatial variance in population density was a power-law function of mean body mass). To our knowledge, this constitutes the first empirical confirmation of variance-mass allometry for any animal community. We found that the parameter values of all three relationships differed for species with different lifestyles in the same communities. Taylor's law and density-mass allometry accurately predicted the form and parameter values of variance-mass allometry. We conclude that species of different lifestyles in these metazoan communities obeyed the same major ecological power-law relationships but did so with parameters specific to each lifestyle, probably reflecting differences among lifestyles in population dynamics and spatial distribution.

Fujiwara M.,Texas A&M University | Cohen J.E.,Rockefeller and Columbia Universities
Theoretical Ecology | Year: 2015

How does fishing affect the mean and variance of population density in the presence of environmental fluctuations? Several recent authors have suggested that an increasing ratio of standard deviation to mean (coefficient of variation, or CV) in population density indicates declining population stability. We investigated the relationship between the mean and variance of population density in stochastic, density-dependent, stage-structured fish population models. Our models included either compensatory or overcompensatory density dependence affecting either fertility or juvenile survival. Environmental stochasticity affected either juvenile survival (when density dependence affected fertility) or fertility (when density dependence affected juvenile survival). The mean and variance of population density were compared as fishing mortality changed. In some cases, the relationship between the natural logarithms of mean and variance is linear under some parameters (life history strategy) of some models (the type of density dependence and the timing of density dependence and stochasticity), supporting Taylor’s law. In other cases, the relationship can be non-linear, especially when density dependence is overcompensatory, and depends on the stage observed. For example, the variance of adult density may increase with its mean while the variance of juvenile density of the same population may decline, or vice versa. The sequence in which individuals experience stochasticity and density dependence matters because density dependence can attenuate or magnify the fluctuation. In conclusion, the use of the CV as a proxy for population instability is not appropriate, and the CV of population density has to be interpreted carefully for other purposes. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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