Evolution of multiple prey defenses: from predator cognition to community ecology

Predator-prey interactions are fundamental to evolution and ecology. To understand the diversity of defensive strategies that have evolved - and their potential effects on predator-prey dynamics - we need to consider the way that predators perceive their prey and the cognitive mechanisms that govern their foraging strategies. Our symposium will be aimed at understanding evolution of multiple defensive mechanisms in many prey species (such as combination of chemical and behavioural defences or sequestered and synthesized defensive chemicals). Such multiple defences are widespread, yet their evolutionary underpinnings are not well known. To address this question, we will consider the interplay between predator behaviour and the following characteristics of their prey: community diversity, body size, intra- and interspecific variation in life history, and variability in appearance (including multicomponent and multimodal warning signals). The symposium will combine series of talks with discussion workshops focused on key questions in the area. The talks will provide the opportunity to learn about the latest research in this rapidly growing field, and also serve as catalysts for workshop discussions. The aim of our symposium will be to produce a synthesis of the ways in which predator behaviour interacts with multiple prey defences that will describe the state-of-the-art and lay out a roadmap for the coming years.

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