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Ecological implications of reptile mesopredator release in arid South Australia

Citation

Read, JL and Scoleri, V, Ecological implications of reptile mesopredator release in arid South Australia, Journal of Herpetology, 49, (1) pp. 64-69. ISSN 0022-1511 (2015) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles

DOI: doi:10.1670/13-208

Abstract

Few examples of mesopredator release, whereby subordinate predators increase in abundance in response to a reduction in dominant predators, have been demonstrated from reptile communities despite the important ecological role of large varanids and snakes. We tested the hypothesis that trophic cascades attributable to mesopredator release of varanids could explain the apparently perverse decline of some small reptiles following removal of exotic mammalian predators in a landscape-scale reserve in arid South Australia. We used counts of Sand Goanna (Varanus gouldii) tracks and diggings as a surrogate activity index in paddock-scale treatments with different assemblages of feral predators and reintroduced mammals. Varanus gouldii activity was five times higher in regions where cats and foxes were removed than where they were present. We hypothesize that the suppression of mammalian predators can have complex effects that extend to reptile communities and should inform conservation management decisions in environments with large reptile predators.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:reptile, mecopredator, sand goanna
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental Science and Management
Research Field:Wildlife and Habitat Management
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Objective Field:Sparseland, Permanent Grassland and Arid Zone Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Author:Scoleri, V (Mr Vince Scoleri)
ID Code:105898
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2016-01-20
Last Modified:2016-05-30
Downloads:0

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