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Patterns of detection and capture are associated with cohabiting predators and prey

Citation

Lazenby, BT and Dickman, CR, Patterns of detection and capture are associated with cohabiting predators and prey, PLoS One, 8, (4) Article e59846. ISSN 1932-6203 (2013) [Refereed Article]


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DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059846

Abstract

Avoidance behaviour can play an important role in structuring ecosystems but can be difficult to uncover and quantify. Remote cameras have great but as yet unrealized potential to uncover patterns arising from predatory, competitive or other interactions that structure animal communities by detecting species that are active at the same sites and recording their behaviours and times of activity. Here, we use multi-season, two-species occupancy models to test for evidence of interactions between introduced (feral cat Felis catus) and native predator (Tasmanian devil Sarcophilus harrisii) and predator and small mammal (swamp rat Rattus lutreolus velutinus) combinations at baited camera sites in the cool temperate forests of southern Tasmania. In addition, we investigate the capture rates of swamp rats in traps scented with feral cat and devil faecal odours. We observed that one species could reduce the probability of detecting another at a camera site. In particular, feral cats were detected less frequently at camera sites occupied by devils, whereas patterns of swamp rat detection associated with devils or feral cats varied with study site. Captures of swamp rats were not associated with odours on traps, although fewer captures tended to occur in traps scented with the faecal odour of feral cats. The observation that a native carnivorous marsupial, the Tasmanian devil, can suppress the detectability of an introduced eutherian predator, the feral cat, is consistent with a dominant predator mesopredator relationship. Such a relationship has important implications for the interaction between feral cats and the lower trophic guilds that form their prey, especially if cat activity increases in places where devil populations are declining. More generally, population estimates derived from devices such as remote cameras need to acknowledge the potential for one species to change the detectability of another, and incorporate this in assessments of numbers and survival.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:detection, capture, predator, prey, ecosystems, feral cat, Tasmanian devil, swamp rat
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological Applications
Research Field:Ecosystem Function
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Ecosystem Assessment and Management
Objective Field:Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales
Author:Dickman, CR (Dr Christopher Dickman)
ID Code:116617
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:20
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2017-05-15
Last Modified:2017-05-15
Downloads:0

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