When species’ ranges meet: assessing differences in habitat selection between sympatric large carnivores
Differentiation in habitat selection among sympatric species may depend on niche partitioning, species interactions, selection mechanisms and scales considered. In a mountainous area in Sweden, we explored hierarchical habitat selection in Global Positioning System-collared individuals of two sympatric large carnivore species; an obligate predator, the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), and a generalist predator and scavenger, the wolverine (Gulo gulo). Although the species’ fundamental niches differ widely, their ranges overlap in this area where they share a prey base and main cause of mortality. Both lynx and wolverines selected for steep and rugged terrain in mountainous birch forest and in heaths independent of scale and available habitats. However, the selection of lynx for their preferred habitats was stronger when they were forming home ranges and they selected the same habitats within their home ranges independent of home range composition. Wolverines displayed a greater variability when selecting home ranges and habitat selection also varied with home range composition. Both species selected for habitats that promote survival through limited encounters with humans, but which also are rich in prey, and selection for these habitats was accordingly stronger in winter when human activity was high and prey density was low. We suggest that the observed differences between the species result primarily from different foraging strategies, but may also depend on differences in ranging and resting behaviour, home range size, and relative density of each species. Our results support the prediction that sympatric carnivores with otherwise diverging niches can select for the same resources when sharing main sources of food and mortality.
KeywordsInterspecific interaction Human disturbance Eurasian lynx Wolverine Reindeer
The study was funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management, the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas), the World Wide Fund for Nature (Sweden), and the private foundations Olle och Signhild Engkvists Stiftelser and Marie-Claire Cronstedts Stiftelse. We thank Peter Segerström and Tom Wiklund for field assistance and Jon Arnemo for veterinary assistance. We thank Gustaf Samelius, Johan Månsson, Tomas Willebrand, and an anonymous reviewer for valuable comments on earlier drafts.
- Arnemo JM, Evans A, Fahlman Å (2011) Biomedical protocols for free-ranging brown bears, gray wolves, wolverines and lynx. http://www.rovviltportalen.no/content.ap?thisId=500039688. Accessed 29 Jan 2011
- Boles BK (1977) Predation by wolves on wolverine. Can Field Nat 91:68–69Google Scholar
- Boulinier T, Mariette M, Doligez B, Danchin É (2008) Choosing where to breed: breeding habitat choice. In: Danchin É, Giraldeau L-A, Cézilly F (eds) Behavioural ecology. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 285–321Google Scholar
- Giraldeau L-A (2008) Solitary foraging strategies. In: Danchin É, Giraldeau L-A, Cézilly F (eds) Behavioural ecology. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 233–255Google Scholar
- Haglund B (1966) De stora rovdjurens vintervanor Ι. (Winter habits of the lynx (Lynx lynx L.) and wolverine (Gulo gulo L.) as revealed by tracking in the snow). Viltrevy 4:81–310Google Scholar
- Hall LS, Krausman PR, Morrison ML (1997) The habitat concept and a plea for standard terminology. Wildl Soc Bull 25:173–182Google Scholar
- Mattisson J, Odden J, Nilsen EB, Linnell JDC, Persson J, Andrén H (2011b) Factors affecting Eurasian lynx kill rates on semi-domestic reindeer in northern Scandinavia: can ecological research contribute to the development of a fair compensation system? Biol Conserv 144:3009–3017CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pedersen VA, Linnell JDC, Andersen R, Andrén H, Linden M, Segerström P (1999) Winter lynx Lynx lynx predation on semi-domestic reindeer Rangifer tarandus in northern Sweden. Wildl Biol 5:203–211Google Scholar
- R Development Core Team (2009) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
- Rodgers AR, Carr AP, Beyer HL, Smith L, Kie JG (2007) HRT: home range tools for ArcGIS. In: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research, Thunder Bay, Ontario, CanadaGoogle Scholar
- Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1981) Biometry.The principles and practice of statistics in biological research, 2nd edn. Freeman, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
- Samelius G, Alisauskas RT, Lariviere S, Bergman C, Hendricson CJ, Phipps K, Wood C (2002) Foraging behaviours of wolverines at a large arctic goose colony. Arctic 55:148–150Google Scholar