Competition and coexistence in a small carnivore guild

Competition and coexistence in a small carnivore guild The potential for strong competition among small sympatric carnivores results in a need for coexistence strategies whereby competitors partition along spatial, temporal and dietary axes as a means to reduce ecological overlaps. We determined spatial and temporal partitioning patterns of a guild of small African carnivores: the African wildcat Felis silvestris lybica, grey mongoose Galerella pulverulenta, small-spotted genet Genetta genetta, striped polecat Ictonyx striatus, and the yellow mongoose Cynictis penicillata. We quantified the degree of spatial and temporal co-occurrence of the small carnivores using camera trap data over a year-long period. Carnivores separated into two temporal groups: nocturnal species (wildcat, polecat and genet) and diurnal species (mongooses). In addition, carnivores within the same temporal group had strong patterns of reduced spatial co-occurrence. The smaller bodied carnivores showed lower co-occurrence with the larger bodied African wildcat than expected by chance, supporting the idea of dominant competitor avoidance. Thus, small carnivores likely minimise competitive interactions through spatio-temporal habitat partitioning. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Oecologia Springer Journals

Competition and coexistence in a small carnivore guild

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Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany
Subject
Life Sciences; Ecology; Plant Sciences; Hydrology/Water Resources
ISSN
0029-8549
eISSN
1432-1939
D.O.I.
10.1007/s00442-017-3916-2
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The potential for strong competition among small sympatric carnivores results in a need for coexistence strategies whereby competitors partition along spatial, temporal and dietary axes as a means to reduce ecological overlaps. We determined spatial and temporal partitioning patterns of a guild of small African carnivores: the African wildcat Felis silvestris lybica, grey mongoose Galerella pulverulenta, small-spotted genet Genetta genetta, striped polecat Ictonyx striatus, and the yellow mongoose Cynictis penicillata. We quantified the degree of spatial and temporal co-occurrence of the small carnivores using camera trap data over a year-long period. Carnivores separated into two temporal groups: nocturnal species (wildcat, polecat and genet) and diurnal species (mongooses). In addition, carnivores within the same temporal group had strong patterns of reduced spatial co-occurrence. The smaller bodied carnivores showed lower co-occurrence with the larger bodied African wildcat than expected by chance, supporting the idea of dominant competitor avoidance. Thus, small carnivores likely minimise competitive interactions through spatio-temporal habitat partitioning.

Journal

OecologiaSpringer Journals

Published: Jul 21, 2017

References

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