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Ecological Research

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 519–527 | Cite as

Artificial nest predation rates vary among habitats in the Australian monsoon tropics

  • Richard A. Noske
  • Sarah Fischer
  • Barry W. Brook
Original Article

Abstract

Rates of nest predation have frequently been shown to differ between fragmented and unfragmented habitats, but have rarely been compared among natural habitats in the same geographic region. In this study, artificial nests of two types (open cup and domed) were placed in four habitats (mangroves, monsoon rainforests, eucalypt woodlands and paperbark swamps) over 12 months in three localities near Darwin in the Australian monsoon tropics to determine the effects of habitat, season and nest type on the rate of nest predation. A quail egg and a similarly coloured plasticine egg were placed in each nest. Habitat had a strong effect on nest predation rates, with nests in mangroves experiencing predation rates more than four times higher than those in eucalypt woodlands and paperbark swamps. Despite the strong rainfall seasonality of the region, there was no consistent seasonal variation in nest predation rates. Nest type also had little influence on predation rates, except in paperbark swamps where open cup nests suffered a higher predation rate than domed nests. The study indicates that generalised nest predation rates for tropical regions, even for small areas (e.g. <17 km radius), might overlook substantial variation between habitats. Such variation confounds purported differences in nest predation rates between tropical and temperate regions.

Keywords

Mangroves Seasonality Tropical savannas Domed nests Model selection 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The fieldwork for this study was conducted by SF as part of her B.Sc. Honours at Charles Darwin University (formerly Northern Territory University). We thank Peter Whitehead, Key Centre of Tropical Wildlife Management, for financial support. SF thanks Robert and Yvonne Fischer, Julie Marriott, Peter Phillpott, Rosalinda Isorena, Mike Bellamy, Philip McMahon, Bineeta Sharma and all Library staff at CDU for their support over the 2 years of the project. The Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory gave permission to work in the Territory Wildlife Park, Howard Springs and Holmes Jungle, and we thanks the staff in these Parks, especially Brian Delaney and Jasmine Jan. We extend our sincere thanks to Pacific Dunlop, Australia, for their donation of 300 tennis balls. Quail eggs were supplied by The Game Farm, NSW. Finally we thank Hugh Ford and an anonymous referee for helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard A. Noske
    • 1
  • Sarah Fischer
    • 1
  • Barry W. Brook
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Science and Primary IndustriesCharles Darwin UniversityDarwinAustralia
  2. 2.Key Centre for Tropical Wildlife Management, School of Environmental ResearchCharles Darwin UniversityDarwinAustralia
  3. 3.Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability, School of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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