, Volume 124, Issue 1, pp 130-137

Diet overlap among ruminants in Fennoscandia

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Information on overlap in resource use is central to understanding of interspecific exploitation competition and resource partitioning. Despite this, measures of diet overlap among northern ruminants in Fennoscandia is limited to one earlier study (reindeer and sheep). Diet overlap between sympatric moose and roe deer calculated with Schoener’s index was 20.7% and 33.6% during summer (data from one area) and winter (data from two areas), respectively, whereas average diet overlap between moose and red deer was 32.0% during winter (data from four areas). Diet overlap between a coastal island population of red deer and sheep was 59.3% during summer and 63.9% during winter. Summer diet overlap between a sheep and a goat population and a sheep and a reindeer population calculated with data on main types of forage plants was 77.0% and 55.1%, respectively. However, overlap calculated with main plant groups was sometimes considerably higher than when calculated for individual forage species. Neither difference in feeding type nor body mass successfully predicted diet overlap between species pairs (n=9), although there tended to be negative correlation (r p =–0.586, P=0.098) between diet overlap of main plant groups (calculated across studies) and difference in feeding type.

Received: 19 October 1999 / Accepted: 31 January 2000