Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1186/s12898-017-0123-2
Title (Primary) Transient recovery dynamics of a predator–prey system under press and pulse disturbances
Author Karakoç, C.; Singer, A.; Johst, K.; Harms, H.; Chatzinotas, A.
Source Titel BMC Ecology
Year 2017
Department OESA; UMB; iDiv
Volume 17
Page From art. 13
Language englisch
Data and Software links
Keywords Pulse disturbance; Press disturbance; Transient dynamics; Recovery; Trophic interactions; Protist; Bacteria; Predation; Prey release; Food web
UFZ wide themes RU5


Species recovery after disturbances depends on the strength and duration of disturbance, on the species traits and on the biotic interactions with other species. In order to understand these complex relationships, it is essential to understand mechanistically the transient dynamics of interacting species during and after disturbances. We combined microcosm experiments with simulation modelling and studied the transient recovery dynamics of a simple microbial food web under pulse and press disturbances and under different predator couplings to an alternative resource.


Our results reveal that although the disturbances affected predator and prey populations by the same mortality, predator populations suffered for a longer time. The resulting diminished predation stress caused a temporary phase of high prey population sizes (i.e. prey release) during and even after disturbances. Increasing duration and strength of disturbances significantly slowed down the recovery time of the predator prolonging the phase of prey release. However, the additional coupling of the predator to an alternative resource allowed the predator to recover faster after the disturbances thus shortening the phase of prey release.


Our findings are not limited to the studied system and can be used to understand the dynamic response and recovery potential of many natural predator–prey or host–pathogen systems. They can be applied, for instance, in epidemiological and conservational contexts to regulate prey release or to avoid extinction risk of the top trophic levels under different types of disturbances.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Karakoç, C., Singer, A., Johst, K., Harms, H., Chatzinotas, A. (2017):
Transient recovery dynamics of a predator–prey system under press and pulse disturbances
BMC Ecology 17 , art. 13 10.1186/s12898-017-0123-2