The ongoing global loss of top predators and their recolonization of various regions are causing a rapid upsurge of studies on these species and a consequent fragmentation of this field into disconnected, specialized subcompartments: this will weaken efforts to produce synthetic generalisations of broader ecological interest. Here, we show that top predation provides regular contributions to general ecology, is well grounded in theoretical ecology and is a rapidly expanding and increasingly experimental, multidisciplinary and technological field of research. The novelty of this forum lies in providing a concise synthesis of this area of ecology, in attempting to formalise “top predation” as a specific, inter-connected area of investigation, and in proposing a marked change of mentality by stressing the need for cross-taxonomic approaches enabling broader views of the role of predators in ecosystems.
Sergio, F., O.J. Schmitz, C.J. Krebs, R.D. Holt, M.R. Heithaus, A.J. Wirsing, W.J. Ripple, E. Ritchie, D. Ainley, D. Oro, Y. Jhala, F. Hiraldo. 2014. Towards a cohesive, holistic view of top predation: a definition, synthesis and perspective. Oikos 123(10): 1234-1243.