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Predator-Prey Interactions: Drivers of Mammalian Body Size Evolution

PI(s): Meghan Balk (University of New Mexico (Albuquerque,NM))

Body size is a fundamental trait of organisms, influencing life histories, diet, energetics, and ecological interactions. Body size regulates predator-prey interactions; prey must be small enough for a predator, or a group of predators, to kill. Yet, these relationships are poorly understood. For instance, we do not know the typical mass ratio of mammalian predator: prey, or how pack-predators fit into this relationship. However, a wealth of recently available data on mammalian body size permits a review and analysis of this information. I propose a synthesis of predator-prey body size relationships, which corrects for evolutionary history and includes trophic-interactions.