U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

September 2001


Gese, E. M., and F. F. Knowlton. 2001. The role of predation in wildlife population dynamics. Pages 7-25 in The Role of Predator Control as a Tool in Game Management. Edited by T. F. Ginnett and S. E. Henke. Texas Agricultural Research and Extension Center. San Angelo. Texas.


The role predation plays in the dynamics of prey populations is controversial. Our understandings of predator-prey relationships is complicated by a multitude of factors in the environment and a general lack of knowledge of most ecological systems. Various other factors, besides predation, may regulate or limit prey populations, and various factors influence the degree to which predation affects prey populations. Furthermore, some factors may create time lags, or even cause generational effects, that go unnoticed. Herein, we review the role of predation in wildlife population dynamics, some of the factors influencing predator-prey interactions, and attempt to indicate where the professional debate currently is focused and where it may need to go to enhance our understanding of predator-prey interactions.