The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Fleshing out the predator-prey balance: David Christianson's large mammal research examines why certain species teeter on the brink of extinction

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dr. David Christianson is an Assistant Professor of large mammal ecology with SNRE, and his research has examined a range threatened or endangered species including lions in Africa, elk and wolves in Montana, and the Sonoran pronghorn in Southern Arizona. Dr. Christian's research is discussed in detail in a recent feature article in the UA's Environment and Sustainability Portal

By studying the behavior of these animals, Christianson hopes to identify why certain species or populations teeter on the brink of extinction and what forces determine whether they live to flee or fight another day, regardless of where they fall on the food chain. 

“Populations ebb and flow, sometimes disappearing.” Christianson said. “The role of carnivores as ‘killers’ is one force we often look at to try to understand these dynamics, but predation alone can be a poor explanation for the trends we see in prey populations. That’s partly because predators can play a larger role in the ecosystem beyond simply killing and eating prey.”

Read the full article: http://www.portal.environment.arizona.edu/content/fleshing-out-predator-prey-balance