NCEAS Product 22173

Packer, Craig; Mduma, Simon A. R.; Coughenour, Michael B.; Ritchie, Mark. 2006. Serengeti ecosystem. (Abstract) (Online version)

Abstract

The Serengeti ecosystem exemplifies a number of general features of terrestrial food web dynamics and can therefore be viewed as a model system for studying a complex interplay of basic ecological principles. These include: (1) the diverse roles of generalist top predators in governing coexistence in prey communities, (2) the importance of omnivory and intraguild predation in modulating the magnitude of 'top-down' impacts of predators, (3) trophic cascades; (4) the implications of movement, landscape pattern, and spatial heterogeneity for food web dynamics, and, (5) the impact of temporal variation on stability and species composition of local communities. The Serengeti, like many ecosystems, is subject to increasing human use. Understanding human behavior and the links between humans and the ecosystem provides a necessary foundation for conservation.