Scavenger assemblages are structured by complex competition and facilitation processes among vultures

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Title: Scavenger assemblages are structured by complex competition and facilitation processes among vultures
Authors: Naves-Alegre, Lara | Morales-Reyes, Zebensui | Sánchez-Zapata, José A. | Sebastián-González, Esther
Research Group/s: Ecología y Conservación de Poblaciones y Comunidades Animales (ECPCA)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ecología
Keywords: Coexistence | Exploitative competition | Interspecific facilitation | Inter-guild interactions | Interspecific interactions | Scavengers | Niche differentiation | Neotropical vultures
Issue Date: 20-Sep-2022
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Citation: Journal of Zoology. 2022, 318(4): 260-271.
Abstract: Understanding the factors that allow multiple species to coexist and share resources is an outstanding question in community ecology. Animals that share resources tend to use different strategies to decrease potential competition, through morphological adaptations, establishment of hierarchies, behavioral adaptations or spatial or temporal segregation. The main objective of this study was to infer interspecific processes of competition and facilitation through the study of species co-occurrence patterns in a vertebrate scavenger guild in de Brazilian cerrado. We analyzed patterns of spatial and temporal co-occurrence between species pairs, both qualitatively and quantitatively, and determined the activity patterns of the different scavenger species. For this purpose, we placed and monitored 11 large (i.e. goat) and 45 small (i.e. chicken) carcasses by camera-trapping, obtaining a total of 27 448 images. Our results show complex competitive and facilitative relationships among scavenging species in the Brazilian cerrado that are influenced by carcass size and change depending on the spatial and temporal scale at which they are analyzed. The scavenger assemblages that consumed large and small carcasses were different, evidencing resource partitioning between obligate and facultative scavengers. Furthermore, as an alternative to reduce competition levels, most species showed differences in their scavenging patterns, in addition to a strong temporal segregation during carcass consumption. Regarding New World vultures, our results suggest a strong interference competition between species with clear differences in their ecological traits (e.g. size, social behavior). However, we also found evidence of facilitation processes between vulture species in the location and access to the interior of the carcasses. Our findings highlight the role of obligate scavengers both in competition and facilitation processes in this vertebrate scavenger community. Future research should focus on investigating which species play the most important role in the structure and dynamics of this community, also considering intraspecific and behavioral patterns.
Sponsor: LNA, ZMR and ESG were supported by the Generalitat Valenciana and the European Social Fund (ACIF/2019/056, APOSTD/2019/016, SEJI/2018/024, respectively), and JASZ by funds from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities and the European Regional Development Fund (RTI2018-099609-B-C21). ESG received the grant RYC2019-027216-I funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and by ESF Investing in your future. ZMR was also supported by a postdoctoral contract funded by the Junta de Andalucía (POSTDOC_21_00353).
ISSN: 0952-8369 (Print) | 1469-7998 (Online)
DOI: 10.1111/jzo.13016
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2022 The Authors. Journal of Zoology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Zoological Society of London. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - ECPCA - Artículos de Revistas

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