Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/30346
Title: Prey removal in cotton crops next to woodland reveals periodic diurnal and nocturnal invertebrate predation gradients from the crop edge by birds and bats
Contributor(s): Kolkert, Heidi L  (author); Smith, Rhiannon  (author)orcid ; Rader, Romina  (author)orcid ; Reid, Nick  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2021-03-04
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-84633-8
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/30346
Abstract: Factors influencing the efficacy of insectivorous vertebrates in providing natural pest control services inside crops at increasing distances from the crop edge are poorly understood. We investigated the identity of vertebrate predators (birds and bats) and removal of sentinel prey (mealworms and beetles) from experimental feeding trays in cotton crops using prey removal trials, camera traps and observations. More prey was removed during the day than at night, but prey removal was variable at the crop edge and dependent on the month (reflecting crop growth and cover) and time of day. Overall, the predation of mealworms and beetles was 1-times and 13-times greater during the day than night, respectively, with predation on mealworms 3-5 times greater during the day than night at the crop edge compared to 95 m inside the crop. Camera traps identified many insectivorous birds and bats over crops near the feeding trays, but there was no evidence of bats or small passerines removing experimental prey. A predation gradient from the crop edge was evident, but only in some months. This corresponded to the foraging preferences of open-space generalist predators (magpies) in low crop cover versus the shrubby habitat preferred by small passerines, likely facilitating foraging away from the crop edge later in the season. Our results are in line with Optimal Foraging Theory and suggest that predators trade-off foraging behaviour with predation risk at different distances from the crop edge and levels of crop cover. Understanding the optimal farm configuration to support insectivorous bird and bat populations can assist farmers to make informed decisions regarding in-crop natural pest control and maximise the predation services provided by farm biodiversity.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Scientific Reports, 11(1), p. 1-12
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 2045-2322
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 060202 Community Ecology (excl. Invasive Species Ecology)
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 410204 Ecosystem services (incl. pollination)
310302 Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology)
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 960804 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 180606 Terrestrial biodiversity
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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