DOI: https://doi.org/10.7203/metode.9.11417

Natural enemies and biodiversity: The double-edged sword of trophic interactions


Abstract


Natural enemies, that is, species that inflict harm on others while feeding on them, are fundamental drivers of biodiversity dynamics and represent a substantial portion of biodiversity as well. Along the life history of the Earth, natural enemies have been involved in probably some of the most productive mechanisms of biodiversity genesis; that is, adaptive radiation mediated by enemy-victim coevolutionary processes. At ecological timescales, natural enemies are a fundamental piece of food webs and can contribute to biodiversity preservation by promoting stability and coexistence at lower trophic levels through top-down regulation mechanisms. However, natural enemies often produce dramatic losses of biodiversity, especially when humans are involved.

Keywords


apparent competition; coexistence; ecological opportunity; enemy-victim interactions; top-down regulation

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