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Cats Protecting Birds Revisited with a Spatial Approach

The mesopredator release hypothesis (MRH) suggests that in the absence of large, dominant predators, a population of smaller predators increases and, in the process, generates a decline in the prey community. The MRH has been used in attempts to comprehend problems involving the management of introduced species in islands and the extinction or declination of super predators in an ecosystem due to anthropogenic pressures. The dynamics of this system were studied using a spatially explicit model with mean field and pair approximations. We included mathematical analysis of the mean field model as well as numerical analysis for both approximations. The results of the simulation support the claims of the MRH and suggest that control of the mesopredator population is the most feasible method to ensure the persistence of endangered prey populations. Spatial modeling is a complex but valuable tool for studying such phenomena occurring in nature.

  • Poster session award recipient at the 2008 SIAM–Life Sciences Convention in Montreal, Canada

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James Gambino, Columbia University
Marco V. Martinez-Martinez, Universidad Javeriana
Kehinde Salau, Arizona State University
Edme L. Soho, Montclair State University
David E. Hiebeler, University of Maine
Fabio Sanchez, Cornell University
David Murillo, Arizona State University