Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Meta-analysis of the effects of predation on animal prey abundance: evidence from UK vertebrates

Holt, Alison R., Davies, Zoe G., Tyler, Claire, Staddon, Samantha (2008) Meta-analysis of the effects of predation on animal prey abundance: evidence from UK vertebrates. PLoS ONE, 3 . e2400. ISSN 1932-6203. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002400) (KAR id:28308)


Background: Controlling vertebrate predators is one of the most widespread forms of wildlife management and it continues to cause conflict between stakeholders worldwide. It is important for managers and policy-makers to make decisions on this issue that are based on the best available scientific evidence. Therefore, it is first important to understand if there is indeed an impact of vertebrate predators on prey, and then to quantify this impact.

Methodology/Principal Findings: Using the UK as a case study, we use a meta-analytical approach to review the available evidence to assess the effect of vertebrate predation on animal prey abundance. We find a significant effect of predators on prey abundance across our studies. On average, there is a 1.6 fold increase in prey abundance in the absence of predation. However, we show significant heterogeneity in effect sizes, and discuss how the method of predator control, whether the predator is native or non-native, and aspects of study design, may be potential causes.

Conclusions/Significance: Our results allow some cautious policy recommendations to be made regarding the management of predator and prey populations. Meta-analysis is an important tool for understanding general patterns in the effect of predators on prey abundance across studies. Such an approach is especially valuable where management decisions need to be made in the absence of site-specific information.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002400
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Zoe Davies
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2011 16:39 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:06 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.