Predators alter the scaling of diversity in prey metacommunities
Authors: Wade A. Ryberg, Kevin G. Smith and Jonathan M. Chase
Although predator effects on the number of locally coexisting species are well understood, there are few formal predictions of how these local predator effects influence patterns of prey diversity at larger spatial scales.
Building on the theory of island biogeography, we develop a simple model that describes how predators can alter the scaling of diversity in prey metacommunities and compares the effects of generalist and specialist predators on regional prey diversity.
The distinct effects of generalist and specialist predators on prey diversity at different spatial scales are uniquely shaped by the extent of predation within those metacommunities.
Overall, our model results make general predictions for how different types of predators can differentially affect prey diversity across spatial scales, allowing a more complete understanding of the possible implications of predator eradications or introductions for biodiversity.