Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Evaluation of predator numerical responses

Jim Hone A E , Charles Krebs A B , Mark O’Donoghue B C and Stan Boutin D

A Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

B Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.

C Department of Environment, PO Box 310, Mayo, Yukon Y0B 1M0 Canada.

D Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AL T6G 2E9, Canada.

E Corresponding author. Email: Jim.Hone@canberra.edu.au

Wildlife Research 34(5) 335-341 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR06171
Submitted: 12 December 2006  Accepted: 2 July 2007   Published: 6 September 2007

Abstract

We evaluated hypotheses of the dynamics of predators (lynx) relative to prey (snowshoe hares) and predator abundance in the Yukon, Canada. The hypotheses were that predator (lynx) dynamics are influenced by prey density, or by both prey and predator densities. Annual lynx population growth rate (r), estimated from lynx counts, was positively related to previous hare density and negatively related to previous lynx density, as described by the best-fitting additive model (R2 = 0.85). Annual lynx growth rate (r) estimated from lynx tracks was positively related to the ratio of hares per lynx in the best-fitting model (R2 = 0.55). There was most support for the prey- and predator-dependent hypothesis of predator dynamics. Projected lynx tracks showed similar trends to observed abundance but lagged one year, emphasising the need for evaluation of projected predator trends.


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