Keywords

Food web; facilitated predation; intraguild predation; mechanistic model

Abstract

Biotic interactions are known to shape natural community assemblages and biodiversity. Positive interactions such as facilitation have recently received attention in ecological food webs. Mechanistic models have improved our understanding of these complex food web interactions. Here, focus is given to a three-species food web system with a beach dune natural community in mind. In the last decade, there has been a series of studies investigating intraguild predation between two major loggerhead sea turtle nest predators, North American raccoons and Atlantic ghost crabs. Studies have also highlighted that ghost crab predation assists raccoons in finding nests (i.e., facilitated predation). However, the combined effects of these two intraguild interactions and their consequences on nests have not been examined explicitly. The aims of this study were to (i) develop a three-species, ordinary differential equation model (ii) implement a sensitivity analysis to understand the influence of facilitation and other factors in driving species richness and abundance and (iii) characterize the dynamic interactions between intraguild predators and their effects on a shared resource. Interactions between ghost crabs and sea turtle eggs and facilitation can yield a wide variety of species abundance responses and were influential factors in the model. I found that high secondary sea turtle egg depredation and low facilitated predation by raccoons led to three species co-existence regions in the model. Controlling for nest predators at higher abundance levels showed that ghost crabs had a larger negative effect on sea turtle egg abundance responses when compared to raccoons. This suggests that interactions between sea turtle eggs and ghost crabs appear to be important and potential sea turtle nest management implications are discussed such as the use of ghost crab exclusion devices.

Notes

If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at STARS@ucf.edu

Graduation Date

2015

Semester

Summer

Advisor

Weishampel, John

Degree

Master of Science (M.S.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Biology

Degree Program

Sciences

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0005771

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0005771

Language

English

Release Date

August 2015

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Subjects

Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

Restricted to the UCF community until August 2015; it will then be open access.

Included in

Biology Commons

Share

COinS