The Role of Predation


Predation is defined as the consuming of one organism by another. Predators feed on their prey, and despite this being viewed as a necessary evil, predators help the ecosystems in which they live by reducing competition. A superior competitor can eliminate other species from a community when there are not enough resources to fulfill the energy requirements of an ecosystem. However, predators can prevent or greatly reduce competitive exclusion by reducing the number of individuals of competing species.

coyote.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cameronrognan/3752252364/


The Coyote works to keep the Jackrabbit population in check. The Jackrabbit is also checked by other grazers on food supply, a biotic factor. Jackrabbits also have a very high rate of reproduction and are very adaptable which makes it very easy for them to become pests. In addition to Coyotes, various snakes, birds of prey (eagles, hawks, and owls), and Bobcats work to keep the population of Jackrabbits from becoming too large and a detriment to the ecosystem.

jack.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/davduf/17577335/


The Mountain Lion is the main predator of the Mule Deer. Mule Deer are also the main part of the Mountain Lion's diet. Mule Deer often become overpopulated and die because of lack of resources. Mountain Lions work to keep the population in check so that this does not happen. Coyotes, Bobcats, and Black Bears are also natural predators of the Mule Deer to help keep the population from putting a strain on the ecosystem.