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Imagine that you are a scientist studying species interactions in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Today, you are observing a pride of lions in the southeast quadrant of the park. Two lionesses brought down a large adult wildebeest. The adult females fed for approximately 20 minutes. Their cubs appeared interested in feeding but were largely kept away from the kill by the adult lions. A clan of hyenas drove the lions from the carcasses and fed for approximately 30 minutes. Two male lions drove the hyenas from the carcass, killing a female hyena. The male lions ate most of the kill; vultures fed on remains.
1. Species Interactions
• Describe the form of species interaction that was observed between members of lion pride and between lions and hyenas.
• Explain how this type of interaction may affect the population densities of the two species.
2. Competition Between Species
• Competition occurs when organisms compete for access to limiting resources. Can you think of resources that are not limiting?
3. Selection of Traits
• Do you think natural selection has shaped traits in these species that makes them better competitors?
• If so, what types of traits might be involved? Explain your reasoning.