The dimensions of fear: from brains to ecosystems to human mental health and human impacts
Department of Biology, Western University, Canada firstname.lastname@example.org
(Seminar in English)
Predators kill prey thereby affecting populations and ecosystems. Predators also scare prey, and the fear of being killed is a powerful evolutionary force that has always shaped all life on earth. But whether fear can be powerful enough to operate over ecological time in wildlife is intensely debated because demonstrating that fear effects exist for wildlife requires manipulations which are challenging to do for free-living animals. We have been conducting a variety of manipulations on a wide range of wildlife, from birds to lions, in many different places in the world that are demonstrating that fear affects wildlife from the brain, to behaviour and physiology, to populations, with cascading effects down the food chain. Our research further reveals that fear of predators can inform us about human mental health and can be used as a tool to diagnose the extent of human impacts on the environment as well.
Suraci JP, Clinchy M, Dill LM, Roberts D, Zanette LY (2016) Fear of large carnivores causes a trophic cascade. Nature communications, 7
Zanette LY, White AF, Allen MC, Clinchy M (2011) Perceived predation risk reduces the number of offspring songbirds produce per year. Science, 334(6061), 1398-1401
Clinchy M, Zanette LY, Roberts D, Suraci JP, Buesching CD, Newman C, Macdonald DW (2016) Fear of the human “super predator” far exceeds the fear of large carnivores in a model mesocarnivore. Behavioral Ecology, 27(6), 1826-1832