Nonconsumptive predator effects modify crayfish-induced bioturbation as mediated by limb loss: Field and mesocosm experiments

Luc A. Dunoyer, Dakota Coomes, Philip H. Crowley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We addressed the implications of limb loss and regeneration for multispecies interactions and their impacts on ecosystem engineering in freshwater stream environments. We included regenerative and nonregenerative crayfish as well as fish predators in a 2 × 2 factorial design to assess the effects on water turbidity of interactions between crayfish ecosystem engineers differing in regenerative status and their fish predators. We demonstrated that crayfish limb loss and predation risks lead to more turbidity in field and mesocosm conditions. Moreover, ongoing regeneration of crayfish increased turbidity, while fish presence seemed to hinder crayfish turbidity-inducing behaviors (such as tail-flipping and burrowing) in the mesocosm experiment. We confirmed that greater numbers of crayfish produce a greater amount of turbidity in situ in streams. Although mechanical burrowing crayfish capacities may depend on crayfish burrowing classification (primary, secondary, or tertiary), our work emphasizes the implication for turbidity levels of crayfish autotomy in freshwater streams.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2739-2748
Number of pages10
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Westneat and Crowley laboratories for comments and suggestions on this study as well as Jacqueline Dillard for numerous discussions. This work was made possible thanks to the support from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CAFE) at the University of Kentucky and the Karri Casner Environmental Sciences Fellowship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Faxonius rusticus
  • autotomy
  • ecosystem engineering
  • enclosure-exclosure experiments
  • turbidity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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