Predator-driven behavioural shifts in a common lizard shape resource-flow from marine to terrestrial ecosystems

Oriol Lapiedra, Nina Morales, Louie H. Yang, Darío Fernández-Bellon, Sozos N. Michaelides, Sean T. Giery, Jonah Piovia-Scott, Thomas W. Schoener, Jason J. Kolbe, Jonathan B. Losos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Foraging decisions shape the structure of food webs. Therefore, a behavioural shift in a single species can potentially modify resource-flow dynamics of entire ecosystems. To examine this, we conducted a field experiment to assess foraging niche dynamics of semi-arboreal brown anole lizards in the presence/absence of predatory ground-dwelling curly-tailed lizards in a replicated set of island ecosystems. One year after experimental translocation, brown anoles exposed to these predators had drastically increased perch height and reduced consumption of marine-derived food resources. This foraging niche shift altered marine-to-terrestrial resource-flow dynamics and persisted in the diets of the first-generation offspring. Furthermore, female lizards that displayed more risk-taking behaviours consumed more marine prey on islands with predators present. Our results show how predator-driven rapid behavioural shifts can alter food-web connectivity between oceanic and terrestrial ecosystems and underscore the importance of studying behaviour-mediated niche shifts to understand ecosystem functioning in rapidly changing environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14335
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Anolis lizards
  • cascading effects
  • d13C stable isotopes
  • ecological interactions
  • experimental ecology
  • food webs
  • niche shifts
  • predator–prey interactions
  • risk-taking behaviour
  • trophic interactions


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