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Title

Effects of carrion resources on herbivore spatial distribution are mediated by facultative scavengers

AuthorsCortés-Avizanda, Ainara ; Selva, Nuria; Carrete, Martina ; Donázar, José A.
KeywordsBiałowiez˙a forest;
Carcasses
Predator–prey relationship
Resource pulses
Scavenging;
Snow tracking
Spatial response
Issue DateMay-2009
PublisherElsevier
CitationBasic and Applied Ecology 10 (2009) 265–272
AbstractCarcasses of large herbivores are pulsed resources whose impact on animal communities and ecological processes is poorly understood. In temperate forests, long-lasting ungulate carcasses are a prime resource for many species of birds and mammals during winter. Facultative carrion-eaters also consume live prey, thus potentially leading to unexpected secondary effects on populations of species not directly linked to carcass exploitation. By snow-tracking and direct observations we investigated in Białowiez˙a Forest (E. Poland) whether large ungulate carcasses elicit spatial responses in facultative scavengers and their prey. We found that in the vicinity of carcass sites the probability of the presence of common ravens Corvus corax, jays Garrulus glandarius and red foxes Vulpes vulpes increased significantly. Indeed, large groups of the two bird species were exclusively found in those places. Because of these aggregations, the probability of predator–prey encounters (red foxes and brown hares Lepus europaeus) was significantly higher near carcass sites. Accordingly, the abundance of hares and other live prey such as red squirrels Sciurus vulgaris decreased at their vicinities, probably as a consequence of direct killing and/or predator avoidance. This study provides the first evidence of carrion pulses permeating into apparently distant trophic levels, such as herbivores, via facultative scavengers, thus highlighting some unnoticed but relevant effects of carrion resources on community structure. r 2008 Gesellschaft fur Okologie. Published by Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
Die Kadaver von großen Herbivoren sind kurzfristige Ressourcen, deren Auswirkungen auf Tiergemeinschaften und okologische Prozesse nur wenig verstanden sind. In gemaßigten Waldern sind wahrend des Winters sich lange haltende Kadaver von Huftieren eine primare Ressource fur viele Arten von Vogeln und Saugetieren. Fakultative Aasfresser fressen auch lebende Beute und es kann daher zu unerwarteten sekundaren Effekten auf Populationen von Arten kommen, die nicht direkt mit der Aasnutzung verbunden sind. Uber Fahrtensuche im Schnee und direkte Beobachtungen im Wald von Białowiez˙a (Ostpolen) untersuchten wir, ob die Kadaver von groben Huftieren raumliche Reaktionen bei fakultativen Aasfressern und ihren Beutetieren auslosten. Wir fanden, dass in der Nachbarschaft von Kadavern Kolkraben Corvus corax, Eichelhaher Garrulus glandarius und Rotfuchse Vulpes vulpes mit signifikant großerer Wahrscheinlichkeit anwesend waren. Tatsachlich wurden große Ansammlungen der beiden Vogelarten ausschließlich in der Nahe dieser Platze gefunden. Aufgrund dieser Aggregationen war die Wahrscheinlichkeit fur die
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ja ba a .2008.03.09
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/35021
DOI10.1016/ja ba a .2008.03.09
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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