Predator-prey interactions cause apparent competition between marine zooplankton groups

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Stige, Leif Christian
Kvile, Kristina Øie
Bogstad, Bjarte
Langangen, Øystein
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Indirect ecosystem effects
Apparent competition
State-space model
Large marine ecosystem
Predator-prey dynamics
Zooplankton-fish interactions
Predator-mediated apparent competition is an indirect negative interaction between two prey species mediated by a shared predator. Quantifying such indirect ecosystem effects is methodologically challenging but important for understanding ecosystem functioning. Still, there are few examples of apparent competition from pelagic marine environments. Using state-space statistical modelling, we here provide evidence for apparent competition between two dominant zooplankton groups in a large marine ecosystem, i.e., krill and copepods in the Barents Sea. This effect is mediated by a positive association between krill biomass and survival of the main planktivorous fish in the Barents Sea, capelin Mallotus villosus, and a negative association between capelin and copepod biomasses. The biomass of Atlantic krill species is expected to increase in the Barents Sea due to ongoing climate change, thereby potentially negatively affecting copepods through apparent competition. By demonstrating and quantifying apparent competition in a large marine ecosystem, our study paves the way for more realistic projections of indirect ecosystem effects of climate change and harvesting.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2017. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here under a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license granted to WHOI. It is made available for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Ecology 99 (2018): 632-641, doi:10.1002/ecy.2126.
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