eCite Digital Repository

Strongly interactive carnivore species: maintaining and restoring ecosystem function


Dickman, CR and Glen, AS and Jones, ME and Soule, ME and Ritchie, EG and Wallach, AD, Strongly interactive carnivore species: maintaining and restoring ecosystem function, Carnivores of Australia: Past, Present and Future, CSIRO Publishing, AS Glen, CR Dickman (ed), Collingwood, Australia, pp. 307-330. ISBN 9780643103108 (2014) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 A.S.Glen and C.R. Dickman

Official URL:


Predators can have dramatic and lethal effects on individual prey, but they can also have subtle yet powerful effects on non-prey species via webs of indirect interactions. Top predators may, for example, suppress the activity of smaller predators and in turn provide a net benefit for the prey of the smaller predators; they can also reduce the impacts of herbivores and thus indirectly alter vegetation dynamics. Species that have such pervasive effects on their communities, and the broader ecosystems to which they belong, are termed ‘strongly interactive’. Here, we begin by reviewing the kinds of effects that theoretically can be engendered by the presence of strongly interactive carnivores, and then present examples of such species among the native reptiles, birds and mammals of Australia. The examples include elapid snakes, varanid (monitor) lizards, day-active raptors and owls, dasyurid marsupials and the dingo. The dingo, in particular, has been shown in many studies to suppress the activity of smaller mesopredators and herbivores and to have broadly beneficial effects on biodiversity and ecosystem function. Using the dingo as a case study, we propose that this important but persecuted species should be maintained in areas where it still occurs and that immediate consideration should be given to reintroducing it to areas from which it has been banished. We conclude that strongly interactive carnivores are key components of many ecosystems and should be retained where they still occur and reintroduced, where possible, elsewhere.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:ecological function, trophic cascades, Australia
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Jones, ME (Professor Menna Jones)
ID Code:92944
Year Published:2014
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (FT100100250)
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2014-07-02
Last Modified:2018-04-04

Repository Staff Only: item control page