Predator-Prey Dynamics

Predator-Prey Dynamics: The Role of Olfaction

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Features

  • Explains the biological and environmental mechanics of olfaction
  • Predicts how olfactory hindrances such as turbulence and updrafts can be used to disperse and mask scent
  • Examines how olfaction and olfactory predators influence animal behavior and survival
  • Offers ways to use scent dynamics to manage species interactions in the wild
  • Summary

    Humans, being visually oriented, are well versed in camouflage and how animals hide from predators that use vision to locate prey. However, many predators do not hunt by sight; they hunt by scent. This raises the question: do survival mechanisms and behaviors exist which allow animals to hide from these olfactory predators?  If so, what are they, and how do they work?
    Predator-Prey Dynamics: The Role of Olfaction examines environmental as well as biological and behavioral elements of both predators and prey to answer gaps in our current knowledge of the survival dynamics of species. Beginning with a thorough look at the mechanics of olfaction, the author explains how predators detect, locate, and track their prey using odor trails on the ground or odor plumes in the air. Understanding the physics of airflow is the next step to understanding the potential for manipulating and masking scent. While a bush may conceal an animal visually from a predator, it will not protect an animal from a predator using olfaction.  To hide from the latter, an animal needs to hide in locations where turbulence and updrafts will disperse its scent.
    The book addresses tradeoffs that animals must make given their dual needs to hide from predators and to procure food and water. Studies of mammalian and avian behavior provide examples on the actual use and efficacy of olfactory camouflage tactics. The book concludes with a redefinition of ecological terms based on the physics of airflow and a summary of the theory and implications of olfactory predator--prey dynamics.
    Introducing the mechanics of olfaction and its influence on the behavior of both predators and prey, Predator-Prey Dynamics: The Role of Olfaction presents a new perception of the world and enables us to understand and more effectively manage the delicate survival dynamics of animals in the wild.

    Table of Contents

    Olfactory Predators and Odorants


    Olfactory organs of vertebrates
    Comparing the olfactory ability of humans to other mammals
    Use of olfaction by birds to locate food
    Which modality is most important to snakes in locating prey?
    Which modality is most important to predatory mammals in locating prey?
    Characteristics of odorants
    Perception of odor mixtures
    Sources of odorants from mammals and birds
    Using odors to detect differences between species or individuals
    Can animals hide from olfactory predators by changing their odor?
    Can animals hide from olfactory predators by masking their odor with another, overpowering one?
    Factors influencing the evaporation rate of odorants
    Movement of odorants through the atmosphere
    The olfactory concealment theory
    Detecting and Locating Prey Through Depositional Odor Trails
    Creation of depositional odor trails
    Determining how long ago a trail was created
    Determining the direction of an odor trail
    Impact of environmental conditions on depositional odor trails
    How good are predators at following a depositional odor trail?
    Behavioral tactics used by deer and hares to escape from tracking dogs
    Locating home ranges using olfactory cues
    What prey can do to minimize their risk from depositional odor trails
    What olfactory predators can do to maximize the usefulness of depositional odor trails
    Using Airborne Odorants to Detect the Presence of Prey
    The challenge of using airborne odorants to detect the presence of prey
    Impact of a steady wind on a predator’s ability to detect an odor plume
    How far can predators detect prey by sensing the quarry through its odor plume?
    Can prey reduce their odorant emission rate?
    Impact of wind velocity on odorant concentration
    Impact of turbulence on odorant concentration
    Differences in time-averaged and instantaneous views of odor plumes
    Impact of lateral and vertical turbulence on the size of instantaneous odor plumes
    Measurements of turbulence
    Spatial and temporal structure of odor plumes
    Effect of atmospheric instability on the vertical dispersion of odorants
    Diurnal changes in atmospheric stability
    Impact of atmospheric instability on olfactory predators and their prey
    Using Odor Plumes to Locate Prey and the Impact of Convection
    Locating prey through airborne odorants
    Potential methods animals can use to locate an odor source
    How moths locate sources of odor plumes
    How tsetse flies use odor plumes to find their hosts
    Do predators develop olfactory search images of their prey?
    Impact of wind velocity on the ability of predators to locate prey using odor plumes
    Impact of wind velocity of olfactory predators and their prey
    Effect of variable wind speed and direction on use of odor plumes to locate prey
    Convective turbulence caused by local topography
    Impact of local convective currents on olfactory predators and their prey
    Experimental Evidence that Updrafts and Turbulence Hinder the Ability of Predators to Find Prey Using Olfaction
    Experiment 1: do updrafts and atmospheric turbulence hinder the ability of dogs to find birds?
    Experiment 2: are nest predation rates by free-ranging predators lower in areas where updrafts occur?
    Experiment 3: do updrafts and turbulence hinder the ability of free-ranging predators to find artificial nests?
    Turbulence Caused by Isolated Surface Features
    Mechanical turbulence caused by isolated surface features
    Impact of turbulence caused by isolated surface features on olfactory predators and their prey
    Mechanical turbulence caused by an isolated plant
    Impact of turbulence caused by isolated trees on olfactory predators and their prey
    Turbulence caused by shelterbelts
    Impact of turbulence across shelterbelts on olfactory predators and their prey

    Turbulence Over Rough Surfaces


    Aerodynamic roughness length
    Impact of z on olfactory predators and their prey
    Zero-plane displacement
    Airflow across habitat edges
    Airflow from a Smooth to a Rough Surface
    Airflow from Rough to Smooth Surfaces
    Impact of turbulence caused by habitat edges on olfactory predators and their prey
    Turbulence Within and Below Plant Canopies
    Convective turbulence within plant canopies
    Mechanical turbulence within plant canopies
    Airflow and turbulence within forb and grass canopies
    Movement of a pheromone plume within a grain field
    Airflow within the subcanopy of forests
    Differences in the movement of odor plumes above grass canopies and within forest canopies
    How does turbulence within a forest plantation differ from a naturally reproducing or old-growth forest?
    Impact of turbulence within a forest subcanopy on olfactory predators and their prey
    Airflow in savannas
    Impact of turbulence in forests, prairies, and savannas on olfactory predators and their prey
    Trade-Offs Required to Achieve Optimal Hiding Strategies
    Optimal hiding strategies for prey
    Optimal foraging strategies for predators
    How predators develop search images of prey
    How birds learn where to nest
    Interplay between a predator’s optimal foraging strategy and a prey’s optimal hiding strategy
    Trade-offs involving avoiding detection versus capture
    Trade-offs required to avoid both visual and olfactory predators
    Trade-offs between the need to avoid olfactory predators and to meet the other necessities of life
    Trade-offs between the need to reproduce this year versus during future years
    Trade-offs involving the timing of dangerous activities
    Trade-offs among injuries, illness, starvation, and predators
    Summary
    Impact of Olfactory Predators on the Behavior of Female Ungulates During Parturition and on the Behavior of Their Young
    Do females reduce their production of odorants at parturition sites or the bedding sites of their young?
    Is the behavior of neonates designed to hinder the ability of predators to find them using olfaction?
    Do fawns adjust the timing of their movements to avoid attracting the attention of visual or olfactory predators?
    Do female ungulates select parturition sites, and do young select bedding grounds where olfactory predators would have a hard time finding them?
    Do Nest Site Characteristics Influence Nest Predation Rates by Olfactory Predators?
    Impact of avian mass, surface area, and metabolic rates on olfactory predators
    Impact of nest characteristics on olfactory predators
    Do Weather, Convection, Isolated Surface Features, or Shelterbelts Influence Nest Predation Rates of Olfactory Predators?
    Impact of weather on olfactory predators
    Impact of convection on olfactory predators
    Impact of isolated surface features on olfactory predators
    Impact of shelterbelts on olfactory predators
    Do Prairies, Savannas, Forests, or Edge Habitats Influence Nest Predation Rates of Olfactory Predators?
    Nest predation by olfactory predators in prairies and open fields
    Nest predation by olfactory predators in savannas
    Nest predation by olfactory predators within forests
    Impact of edge habitat on olfactory predators
    Using the Physics of Airflow to Redefine Common Ecological Terms
    Examples from forest ecology of the confusion that can be created by ambiguous definitions
    What is a forest patch or habitat patch?
    What is a forest interior?
    What is a forest edge?
    How far does a forest edge extend into a forest?
    What is a forest clearing?
    Benefits of defining ecological terms based on the physics of airflow

    Epilogue


    Dangers posed by depositional odor trails
    Dangers posed by odor plumes
    Can the olfactory-concealment theory help guide future research and provide answers to questions that heretofore have lacked explanation?
    Does the olfactory-concealment theory have any applied value?
    References
    Appendix 1 Latin Names of Species Mentioned in this Book
    Appendix 2 Symbols Used in this Book
    Appendix 3 Forces Controlling Wind Speed and Direction
    Appendix 4 Pasquill’s System for Measuring Atmospheric Stability
    Index

    Editorial Reviews

    "The book is logically organized to describe the mechanics of olfaction and the physics of airflow before discussing species of predators and prey and their ecology. This may sound like dry reading at the outset. but Conover employs animal attributes or behaviors to keep the reader along for the ride."
    — Timothy D. Smith, Slippery Rock University, in Journal of Mammalogy, 2008 

    “Predator-prey dynamics covers a subject that has not received enough attention by animal behavior and ecology researchers. ...Conover’s book has laid the foundation for future research on olfactory predators and their prey.”
    — Barbara Clucas, University of California-Davis, writing in Ecology, 2007

     
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