TitleScales of dispersal and the biogeography of marine predator-prey interactions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsWieters, EA, Gaines, SD, Navarrete, SA, Blanchette, CA, Menge, B
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Striking differences in the dispersal of coexisting species have fascinated marine ecologists for decades. Despite widespread attention to the impact of dispersal on individual species dynamics, its role in species interactions has received comparatively little attention. Here, we approach the issue by combining analyses of simple heuristic predator-prey models with different dispersal patterns and data from several predator-prey systems from the Pacific coasts of North and South America. In agreement with model predictions, differences in predator dispersal generated characteristic biogeographic patterns. Predators lacking pelagic larvae tracked geographic variation in prey recruitment but not prey abundance. Prey recruitment rate alone explained more than 80% of the biogeographic variation in predator abundance. In contrast, predators with broadcasting larvae were uncorrelated with prey recruitment or adult prey abundance. Our findings reconcile perplexing results from previous studies and suggest that simple models can capture some of the complexity of life-history diversity in marine communities.

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