Advertisement

Oecologia

, Volume 175, Issue 4, pp 1155–1165 | Cite as

Density-dependent habitat selection and partitioning between two sympatric ungulates

  • Floris M. van Beest
  • Philip D. McLoughlin
  • Eric Vander Wal
  • Ryan K. Brook
Behavioral ecology - Original research

Abstract

Theory on density-dependent habitat selection predicts that as population density of a species increases, use of higher quality (primary) habitat by individuals declines while use of lower quality (secondary) habitat rises. Habitat partitioning is often considered the primary mechanism for coexistence between similar species, but how this process evolves with changes in population density remains to be empirically tested for free-ranging ungulates. We used resource-selection functions to quantify density effects on landscape-scale habitat selection of two sympatric species of ungulates [moose (Alces alces) and elk (Cervus canadensis manitobensis)] in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba, Canada (2000–2011). The density of elk was actively reduced from 1.2 to 0.4 elk km−2 through increased hunting effort during the period of study, while moose density decreased without additional human influence from 1.6–0.7 moose km−2. Patterns of habitat selection during winter by both species changed in accordance to expectations from density-dependent habitat-selection theory. At low intraspecific density, moose and elk did not partition habitat, as both species selected strongly for mixed forest (primary habitat providing both food and cover), but did so in different areas segregated across an elevational gradient. As intraspecific density increased, selection for primary habitat by both species decreased, while selection for secondary, lower quality habitat such as agricultural fields (for elk) and built-up areas (for moose) increased. We show that habitat-selection strategies during winter for moose and elk, and subsequent effects on habitat partitioning, depend heavily on the position in state space (density) of both species.

Keywords

Competition State space Population density Harvest Resource-selection functions Coexistence Deer Predation risk 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the Parks Canada Agency, Riding Mountain National Park, the University of Saskatchewan, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and PrioNet Canada for in-kind and financial support. We wish to thank Dauphin Air Service and Parks Canada staff involved in the aerial survey data collection and Sean Frey for geographic information system support and compiling the data. Göran Ericsson, Joris Cromsigt, Daniel Fortin, and one anonymous referee provided many helpful and constructive comments on a previous version of this manuscript.

Supplementary material

442_2014_2978_MOESM1_ESM.doc (319 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 319 kb)

References

  1. Ale SB, Morris DW, Dupuch A, Moore DE (2011) Habitat selection and the scale of ghostly coexistence among arctic rodents. Oikos 120:1191–1200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Banta JA, Ehrenreich IM, Gerard S et al (2012) Climate envelope modelling reveals intraspecific relationships among flowering phenology, niche breadth and potential range size in Arabidopsis thaliana. Ecol Lett 15:769–777PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boyce MS, McDonald LL (1999) Relating populations to habitats using resource selection functions. Trends Ecol Evol 14:268–272PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boyce MS, Vernier PR, Nielsen SE, Schmiegelow FKA (2002) Evaluating resource selection functions. Ecol Model 157:281–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brook RK (2010a) Habitat selection by parturient elk in agricultural and forested landscapes. Can J Zool 88:968–976CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brook RK (2010b) Incorporating farmer observations in efforts to manage bovine tuberculosis using barrier fencing at the wildlife-livestock interface. Prev Vet Med 94:301–305PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brook RK, McLachlan SM (2009) Transdisciplinary habitat models for elk and cattle as a proxy for bovine tuberculosis transmission risk. Prev Vet Med 91:197–208PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown JS, Rosenzweig ML (1986) Habitat selection in slowly regenerating environments. J Theor Biol 123:151–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chesson P (1984) Variable predators and switching behavior. Theor Popul Biol 26:1–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dugal CJ, van Beest FM, Vander Wal E, Brook RK (2013) Targeting hunter distribution based on host resource selection and kill sites to manage disease risk. Ecol Evol 3:4265–4277PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Focardi S, Aragno P, Montanaro P, Riga F (2006) Inter-specific competition from fallow deer Dama dama reduces habitat quality for the Italian roe deer Capreolus capreolus italicus. Ecography 29:407–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Guthrie CG, Moorhead DL (2002) Density-dependent habitat selection: evaluating isoleg theory with a Lotka–Volterra model. Oikos 97:184–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hall LS, Krausman PR, Morrison ML (1997) The habitat concept and a plea for standard terminology. Wildl Soc Bull 25:173–182Google Scholar
  14. Hebblewhite M, Merrill EH (2007) Multiscale wolf predation risk for elk: does migration reduce risk? Oecologia 152:377–387PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hutchinson G (1959) Homage to Santa Rosalia or why are there so many kinds of animals? Am Nat 93:145–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Iranzo EC, Traba J, Acebes P et al (2013) Niche segregation between wild and domestic herbivores in Chilean Patagonia. PLoS One 8:e59326PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jenkins KJ, Wright RG (1988) Resource partitioning and competition among cervids in the Northern Rocky Mountains. J Appl Ecol 25:11–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Johnson DH (1980) The comparison of usage and availability measurements for evaluating resource preference. Ecology 61:65–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kittle AM, Fryxell JM, Desy GE, Hamr J (2008) The scale-dependent impact of wolf predation risk on resource selection by three sympatric ungulates. Oecologia 157:163–175PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lawlot L (1980) Overlap, similarity, and competition coefficients. Ecology 61:245–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Macandza VA, Owen-Smith N, Cain I (2012) Dynamic spatial partitioning and coexistence among tall grass grazers in an African savanna. Oikos 121:891–898CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. MacArthur RH (1958) Population ecology of some warblers of northeastern coniferous forests. Ecology 39:599–619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Manly BFJ, McDonald LL, Thomas DL et al (2002) Resource selection by animals: statistical analysis and design for field studies. Kluwer, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
  24. McLoughlin PD, Morris DW, Fortin D et al (2010) Considering ecological dynamics in resource selection functions. J Anim Ecol 79:4–12PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McPeek MA (2012) Intraspecific density dependence and a guild of consumers coexisting on one resource. Ecology 93:2728–2735PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Milligan HT, Koricheva J (2013) Effects of tree species richness and composition on moose winter browsing damage and foraging selectivity: an experimental study. J Anim Ecol 82:739–748PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Montgomery RA, Vucetich JA, Peterson RO et al (2013) The influence of winter severity, predation and senescence on moose habitat use. J Anim Ecol 82:301–309PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Morris DW (1999) A haunting legacy from isoclines: mammal coexistence and the ghost of competition. J Mamm 80:375–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Morris DW (2003) Toward an ecological synthesis: a case for habitat selection. Oecologia 136:1–13PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Murray DL, Cox EW, Ballard WB et al (2006) Pathogens, nutritional deficiency, and climate influences on a declining moose population. Wildl Monogr 166:1–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nicholson MC, Bowyer RT, Kie JG (2006) Forage selection by mule deer: does niche breadth increase with population density? J Zool 269:39–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Oehlers SA, Bowyer RT, Huettmann F et al (2011) Sex and scale: implications for habitat selection by Alaskan moose Alces alces gigas. Wildl Biol 17:67–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Paquet P (1992) Prey use strategies of sympatric wolves and coyotes in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba. J Mamm 73:337–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Parks Canada (2012) Parks Canada—Riding Mountain National Park—wolves of Riding Mountain National Park. http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/mb/riding/natcul/animaux-animals/loup-wolf.aspx#002. Accessed 26 April 2013
  35. Peacor SD (2003) Phenotypic modifications to conspecific density arising from predation risk assessment. Oikos 100:409–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pérez-Barbería FJ, Hooper RJ, Gordon IJ (2013) Long-term density-dependent changes in habitat selection in red deer (Cervus elaphus). Oecologia 173:837–847PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Peters W, Hebblewhite M, DeCesare N et al (2013) Resource separation analysis with moose indicates threats to caribou in human altered landscapes. Ecography 36:487–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pianka ER (1974) Niche overlap and diffuse competition. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 71:2141–2145PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. R Development Core Team (2013) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, AustriaGoogle Scholar
  40. Rosenzweig ML (1981) A theory of habitat selection. Ecology 62:327–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rosenzweig ML (1991) Habitat selection and population interactions—the search for mechanism. Am Nat 137:S5–S28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rowell JT (2010) Tactical population movements and distributions for ideally motivated competitors. Am Nat 176:638–650PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schoener TW (1974) Resource partitioning in ecological communities. Science 185:27–39PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Schroder G, Rosenzweig M (1975) Perturbation analysis of competition and overlap in habitat utilization between Dipodomys ordii and Dipodomys merriami. Oecologia 19:9–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Singer FJ (1979) Habitat partitioning and wildfire relationships of cervids in Glacier National Park, Montana. J Wildl Manage 43:437–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Singer FJ, Mark L, Cates R (1994) Ungulate herbivory of willows on Yellowstone northern winter range. J Range Manage 47:435–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stewart KM, Bowyer RT, Kie JG et al (2002) Temporospatial distributions of elk, mule deer, and cattle: resource partitioning and competitive displacement. J Mamm 83:229–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Stewart KM, Bowyer RT, Dick BL, Kie JG (2011) Effects of density dependence on diet composition of North American elk Cervus elaphus and mule deer Odocoileus hemionus: an experimental manipulation. Wildl Biol 17:417–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Thomas DL, Taylor EJ (2006) Study designs and tests for comparing resource use and availability II. J Wildl Manage 70:324–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. van Beest FM, Milner JM (2013) Behavioural responses to thermal conditions affect seasonal mass change in a heat-sensitive northern ungulate. PLoS One 8:e65972PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. van Beest FM, Mysterud A, Loe LE, Milner JM (2010) Forage quantity, quality and depletion as scale-dependent mechanisms driving habitat selection of a large browsing herbivore. J Anim Ecol 79:910–922PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. van Beest FM, Vander Wal E, Stronen AV et al (2013a) Temporal variation in site fidelity: scale-dependent effects of forage abundance and predation risk in a non-migratory large herbivore. Oecologia 173:409–420PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. van Beest FM, Vander Wal E, Stronen AV, Brook RK (2013b) Factors driving variation in movement rate and seasonality of sympatric ungulates. J Mamm 94:691–701CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. van Beest FM, Uzal A, Vander Wal E et al (2014) Increasing density leads to generalization in both coarse-grained habitat selection and fine-grained resource selection in a large mammal. J Anim Ecol 83:147–156. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12115 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Vander Wal E, McLoughlin PD, Brook RK (2011) Spatial and temporal factors influencing sightability of elk. J Wildl Manage 75:1521–1526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Vander Wal E, van Beest FM, Brook RK (2013) Density-dependent effects on group size are sex-specific in a gregarious ungulate. PLoS One 8:e53777CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wood SN (2006) Generalized additive models: an introduction with R. Chapman & Hall, CRC, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Floris M. van Beest
    • 1
    • 2
  • Philip D. McLoughlin
    • 3
  • Eric Vander Wal
    • 4
  • Ryan K. Brook
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal and Poultry Science, College of Agriculture and BioresourcesUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Department of BioscienceAarhus UniversityRoskildeDenmark
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversité de SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

Personalised recommendations