Data from: Microhabitat selection in the common lizard: implications of biotic interactions, age, sex, local processes, and model transferability among populations
Peñalver-Alcázar, Miguel; Aragón, Pedro; Breedveld, Merel C.; Fitze, Patrick S. (2017), Data from: Microhabitat selection in the common lizard: implications of biotic interactions, age, sex, local processes, and model transferability among populations, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4nb46
Modeling species' habitat requirements are crucial to assess impacts of global change, for conservation efforts and to test mechanisms driving species presence. While the influence of abiotic factors has been widely examined, the importance of biotic factors and biotic interactions, and the potential implications of local processes are not well understood. Testing their importance requires additional knowledge and analyses at local habitat scale. Here, we recorded the locations of species presence at the microhabitat scale and measured abiotic and biotic parameters in three different common lizard (Zootoca vivipara) populations using a standardized sampling protocol. Thereafter, space use models and cross-evaluations among populations were run to infer local processes and estimate the importance of biotic parameters, biotic interactions, sex, and age. Biotic parameters explained more variation than abiotic parameters, and intraspecific interactions significantly predicted the spatial distribution. Significant differences among populations in the relationship between abiotic parameters and lizard distribution, and the greater model transferability within populations than between populations are in line with effects predicted by local adaptation and/or phenotypic plasticity. These results underline the importance of including biotic parameters and biotic interactions in space use models at the population level. There were significant differences in space use between sexes, and between adults and yearlings, the latter showing no association with the measured parameters. Consequently, predictive habitat models at the population level taking into account different sexes and age classes are required to understand a specie's ecological requirements and to allow for precise conservation strategies. Our study therefore stresses that future predictive habitat models at the population level and their transferability should take these parameters into account.