Resources and predation are both known to be important in structuring communities; however the strength of one factor may be affected by the intensity of the other. This study used a fully crossed factorial experiment in laboratory microcosms to examine the ability of a predator, Corethrella appendiculata (Grabham), and basal resources (leaf litter) to differentially affect two competing species of mosquito prey. Increased resources resulted in shorter developmental time and increased survivorship, mass, and population performance for both prey species, except when predation levels were high. Increased levels of predation and resources reduced the negative competitive effects of Aedes albopictus (Skuse) on Ochlerotatus triseriatus (Say). At low levels of resources and predation, the superior competitor, A. albopictus had the higher survivorship, and at high levels of resources and predation, the inferior competitor’s survival was greater. Predators in high-resource treatments emerged larger than those in low resources, suggesting the occurrence of a bottom-up cascade or alternative feeding method. This study suggests that survival and coexistence of the two prey species may depend on the interaction of resources and predation, in that high levels of predation are important for the coexistence of both species.
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Vol. 98 • No. 5