Divergent Predator Activity Muddies the Dynamic Landscape of Fear

Author(s): Justin T. French, Nova J. Silvy, Tyler A. Campbell, and John M. Tomeček

Published: February 2022

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The landscape of fear (LOF) hypothesis is a unifying idea explaining the effects of predators on the space use of their prey. However, empirical evidence for this hypothesis is mixed. Recent work suggests that the LOF is dynamic, depending on the daily activity of predators, which allows prey to utilize risky places during predator down times. While this notion clarifies some discrepancies between predictions and observations, support for a dynamic LOF remains mixed. We found seasonality in the predictability of coyote behavior, as well as divergent nocturnal and crepuscular activity patterns between individuals during summer. Activity dynamics were not related to range size, sex, body mass, or habitat complexity, but did vary by year. These results suggest that the predictability of activity patterns is seasonally dynamic, and failure to account for intraspecific variation in activity may cloud inference in LOF studies.

Suggested Citation

French, J. T., N. J. Silvy, T. A. Campbell, and J. M. Tomeček. (2022) Divergent predator activity muddies the dynamic landscape of fear. Ecosphere. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.3927

Coyotes and Cattle