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A non-destructive laboratory exercise for teaching some principles of predation

Calver, M.C.ORCID: 0000-0001-9082-2902 and Wooller, R.D. (1998) A non-destructive laboratory exercise for teaching some principles of predation. Journal of Biological Education, 33 (1). pp. 45-48.

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The functional response is the relationship between an individual predator's consumption rate (defined as the number of prey eaten), and the density of its prey. Basic functional response theory was elucidated in the 1950s in a series of laboratory simulations, in which a predator (a blindfolded assistant) hunted for prey (discs of sandpaper) on a desktop. Here we explain how these classic simulations Can be adapted as enjoyable and informative teaching exercises for students from a variety of backgrounds. The basic simulation is useful for providing 'hands-on' insights into the dynamics of prey capture at varying prey densities, while more sophisticated examples require students to demonstrate their understanding by manipulating the simulation to produce particular functional response curves, or to model their data using some of the statistical approaches available.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: Institute of Biology
Copyright: (c) Institute of Biology. Paper reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
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