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A comparison of shark and wolf research reveals similar behavioral responses by prey

Aaron J Wirsing and William J Ripple
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Vol. 9, No. 6 (August 2011), pp. 335-341
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23034442
Page Count: 7
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Abstract

Marine and terrestrial ecologists rarely exchange information, yet comparing research from both sides of the land—sea boundary holds great potential for improving our understanding of ecological processes. For example, by comparing the interaction between tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) and dugongs (Dugong dugon) to that between gray wolves (Canis lupus) and elk (Cervus elaphus), we show that top predators in marine and terrestrial ecosystems trigger three similar types of anti-predator behavior: (1) encounter avoidance, (2) escape facilitation, and (3) increased vigilance. By implication, the ecological roles of top predators in both ecosystems may be more similar than previously thought, and studies that fail to account for multiple modes of anti-predator behavior are likely to underestimate these roles and the consequences of eliminating predators from ecosystems. We encourage more communication between marine and terrestrial ecologists, in the interest of generating further insights into ecosystem dynamics and conservation.

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