European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 585–595 | Cite as

The effects of seed availability on habitat use by a specialist seed predator

  • Erica Di Pierro
  • Anne Ghisla
  • Lucas A. Wauters
  • Ambrogio Molinari
  • Adriano Martinoli
  • John Gurnell
  • Guido Tosi
Original Paper

Abstract

Space-use patterns of seed predators are strongly affected by spatiotemporal variation in the abundance of different tree seeds, their major food source. However, most studies have measured relationships between overall food availability and space use, and there are few cases where effects of different food resources have been explored. We studied the effects of two food resources, Norway spruce and silver fir seeds, on space and habitat use in red squirrel in a subalpine conifer forest from 2000 to 2006. Fir seeds disperse in the autumn of the year they are produced, spruce the following spring. We estimated spruce and fir seed availability within individual home ranges and monitored home-range size using radiotelemetry. Males had larger home ranges than females and the sexes responded differently to variation in food and density. Spruce seed availability negatively affected home-range and core-area sizes of males in spring–summer. Space use was not affected by fir seed availability. Squirrels positively selected spruce for foraging and spruce was always preferred over fir. Our results showed that spruce, but not fir, affected space and habitat use of squirrels, suggesting they do not behaviourally respond to early seed dispersal in fir.

Keywords

Eurasian red squirrel Sciurus vulgaris Norway spruce Silver fir Home-range size 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erica Di Pierro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anne Ghisla
    • 1
  • Lucas A. Wauters
    • 1
  • Ambrogio Molinari
    • 1
  • Adriano Martinoli
    • 1
  • John Gurnell
    • 3
  • Guido Tosi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department Environment, Health and SafetyUniversity of Insubria, VareseVareseItaly
  2. 2.Environment and Natural Resources AreaFEM-IASMA Research CentreSan Michele all’AdigeItaly
  3. 3.School of Biological and Chemical SciencesQueen Mary, University of LondonLondonUK

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