Incorporating nonlinearity with generalized functional responses to simulate multiple predator effects Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Predicting the combined effects of predators on shared prey has long been a focus of community ecology, yet quantitative predictions often fail. Failure to account for nonlinearity is one reason for this. Moreover, prey depletion in multiple predator effects (MPE) studies generates biased predictions in applications of common experimental and quantitative frameworks. Here, we explore additional sources of bias stemming from nonlinearities in prey predation risk. We show that in order to avoid bias, predictions about the combined effects of independent predators must account for nonlinear size-dependent risk for prey as well as changes in prey risk driven by nonlinear predator functional responses and depletion. Historical failure to account for biases introduced by well-known nonlinear processes that affect predation risk suggest that we may need to reevaluate the general conclusions that have been drawn about the ubiquity of emergent MPEs over the past three decades.


  • McCoy, Michael W
  • Hamman, Elizabeth
  • Albecker, Molly
  • Wojdak, Jeremy
  • Vonesh, James R
  • Bolker, Benjamin

publication date

  • 2022

published in