Conspecific and Heterospecific Interactions

Michael P. Ward, Valerie L. Buxton, Janice K. Enos, Jinelle H. Sperry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Interactions within (conspecific) and between (heterospecifics) species can be both positive and negative. Humans alter ecosystems in ways that can change how species interact, presenting challenges to conservation. Here we outline the basic principles of conspecific and heterospecific interactions, highlighting the positive and negative effects of each. We review conspecific interactions in the context of positive outcomes, such as conspecific attraction and Allee effects. We then highlight negative effects of conspecific interactions, often associated with competition and its impact on reproduction and survival. Similarly, we review heterospecific interactions considering positive (e.g. mutualism) and negative (e.g., predation, parasitism) effects on reproduction and survival. We provide several examples of how anthropogenic changes may negatively influence species interactions, such as urbanization and climate change. Creative conservation and management practices will need to be developed to mitigate the impact of human alterations on species interactions. We conclude by highlighting examples of management strategies that take advantage of behaviors associated with species interactions, both conspecific (i.e., conspecific attraction of endangered species) and heterospecific (i.e., facilitated frugivory in Hawaii), to better manage species of conservation concern.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSongbird Behavior and Conservation in the Anthropocene
EditorsDarren S Proppe
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9780429299568
ISBN (Print)9780367279288
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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