Fear of Predation Study

Much of our work involves studying how animals alter their behavior in response to perceived threats.  By doing this, we hope to be more able to understand how risk or fear of predation affects prey behaviors and populations.  One way we do this record how animals respond to the sounds of their predators.

To know how animals respond to the sound of their predators, we first have to makes sure they are not simply responding to a nearby sound.  To do this, we play a recording of a harmless animal.  Here, it is a Carolina wren.

Coyotes are the dominant wild predator of deer in southwestern Georgia.  Notice how the deer responds.

Although we have not had wolves in south Georgia for a long time, deer still recognize wolves as a predator.

Finally, there is one predator that trumps them all.