Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Barton, Brandon

Committee Member

Brooks, Christopher

Committee Member

Lashley, Marcus

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Non-consumptive effects that predators have on prey are important to ecosystems. The perceived risk of predation can alter feeding behavior. Giving-up density (GUD) experiments have been a foundational method to evaluate perceived predation risk, but rely on the assumption that food preferences are absolute. However, nutritional preferences are context dependent and can change with risk. In my first chapter, I used spiders and grasshoppers to test the hypothesis that covariance in nutritional preferences and risk may confound the interpretation of GUD experiments. My results demonstrate that predation risk and nutritional preferences covary and can confound interpretation of GUD experiments. In my second chapter, I use a behavioral observation experiment to further explore non-consumptive effects, as well as the movement of prey in response to predation risk.