Mammalian Biology

, Volume 79, Issue 2, pp 123–131 | Cite as

Factors and mechanisms that explain coexistence in a Mediterranean carnivore assemblage: An integrated study based on camera trapping and diet

  • J. BarrullEmail author
  • I. Mate
  • J. Ruiz-Olmo
  • J. G. Casanovas
  • J. Gosàlbez
  • M. Salicrú
Original Investigation


To promote management and conservation, it is useful to identify the factors that determine species distribution and to understand the mechanisms that regulate the organization of species assemblages or influence the dynamics of communities. Using information provided by 842 camera-trap photos and 8175 scats, we studied the factors that favour the coexistence of European badgers (Meles meles), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and stone martens (Martes foina) in a Mediterranean, agroforestry environment in the Iberian Peninsula. With extensive, simultaneous occupation of the space, and simultaneous activity during a broad time period (basically nocturnal and crepuscular activity patterns), the carnivores displayed different strategies depending on the availability of resources. In summer when plant resources were abundant and easy to access, there was a high overlap in patterns of diet and activity, and the temporal avoidance of the superior competitor allowed joint use of the same plots. In autumn, when there were fewer resources (although still sufficient) that were harder to access, the maintenance of food overlap was compensated for by avoidance and a reduction in overlapping activity. In winter and spring, the differentiation in response behaviour was evident in the partial substitution of plant resources.

Differentiation in niche dimensions has been linked to complementarity, the differential needs and capacities of each species, and their biology. Differentiation in response behaviour was compatible with the hierarchical structure of the carnivores: European badger; red fox; stone marten. Knowledge of these factors and mechanisms increases our understanding and can help in the prediction of responses to disturbances. Consequently, it helps to improve management and conservation actions.


Martes foina Meles meles Vulpes vulpes Carnivore assemblage Coexistence mechanisms 


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Barrull
    • 1
    Email author
  • I. Mate
    • 1
  • J. Ruiz-Olmo
    • 2
  • J. G. Casanovas
    • 3
  • J. Gosàlbez
    • 1
  • M. Salicrú
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Animal Biology, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.General Directorate of Natural Environment and Biodiversity, Department of AgricultureLivestock, Fisheries, Nourishment and Natural Environment, Generalitat of CataloniaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Hydrobiology and Game, Superior Technical School of Forestry EngineersPolytechnic University of MadridMadridSpain
  4. 4.Department of Statistics, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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