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Exploring and interpreting spatiotemporal interactions between native and invasive carnivores across a gradient of rainforest degradation

Abstract

Studies of elusive carnivores often rely on passive sampling when investigating either spatial or temporal interactions. However, inference on behavioral mechanisms are usually lacking. We present an analysis that combines previously published spatial co-occurrence estimates and temporal kernel density estimates to explore spatiotemporal interspecific interactions. We do so by deriving a spatiotemporal value (STV) that is a relative measure of potential interaction in both niche dimensions, across a gradient of degradation, for rainforest carnivore pairs in Madagascar. We also use a conceptual framework to provide insight into the potential behavioral mechanisms of habitat selection. Of the six native and three invasive carnivores, we estimate the spatiotemporal interactions for twelve pairings, which range from no spatial/temporal relationship (n = 5) to spatiotemporal aggregation or segregation (n = 7). We visualized these spatiotemporal interactions along a fragmentation gradient and demonstrate that these interactions are not static, as STV overlap increases with increasing anthropogenic disturbance. Of the three invasive carnivores (free-ranging dogs Canis familiaris, cats Felis species, and small Indian civets Viverricula indica) the latter had the highest number of spatial occurrence (n = 4) and spatiotemporal overlap (n = 4) relationships with native carnivores. Our results highlight the potential for increasing direct and indirect interactions between native and invasive species as forest degradation and invasive predators increase. Our approach allows us to better understand adaptive behaviors, plasticity in temporal activity, community assemblage, and to develop targeted conservation strategies to manage ecological communities in rapidly changing ecosystems.

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Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the following organizations: National Geographic Society-Waitts grant (#W96-10), Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, European Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Idea Wild, Peoples Trust for Endangered Species, Virginia Tech Chapter of Sigma Xi, Virginia Tech Department of Fish & Wildlife Conservation, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (Hatch Formula project 1017848), and logistical and financial support from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Madagascar Program. We thank our field assistants (B.L. Donah, Marka’Helin, V. Andrianjakarivelo, and R. Wilson) and collaborators (C.B. Beandraina, B.A. Salofo, R.C. Christian, Didice, B. Papin, Rabeson, Tobey, Cressent, J. Fernando, and Sassid), our field volunteers (A. Evans, T. Nowlan, K. Miles, H. Doughty, K. Galbreath, J. Larson, C. Miller, and H. Davis), and our Virginia Tech data entry volunteers. We thank the Antananarivo and Maroantsetra staff of WCS for their logistical support, the Antongil Conservation staff, and the Madagascar Ministry of Environment, Water, Forest, and Tourism for permitting this project (permit nos 128/11 and 128/12). Finally, we are grateful to the Associate Editor and anonymous reviewer(s) for their helpful feedback and recommendations on improving this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Zach J. Farris.

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Farris, Z.J., Gerber, B.D., Karpanty, S. et al. Exploring and interpreting spatiotemporal interactions between native and invasive carnivores across a gradient of rainforest degradation. Biol Invasions 22, 2033–2047 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-020-02237-1

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Keywords

  • Non-native species
  • Madagascar
  • Niche dynamics
  • Occupancy
  • Spatial modelling
  • Temporal activity