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Data from: From steps to home range formation: species-specific movement upscaling among sympatric ungulates

Cite this dataset

Tablado, Zulima et al. (2016). Data from: From steps to home range formation: species-specific movement upscaling among sympatric ungulates [Dataset]. Dryad.


Animals move to interact with the environment in order to find food resources and cover. Intrinsic characteristics affecting feeding and antipredatory strategies likely shape variation in movement patterns and home range formation between individuals, populations and species. Browsing herbivores selectively forage on patchily distributed resources in areas with more canopy cover, whereas mixed feeders and grazers feed on more open grasslands and tend to aggregate as an antipredatory strategy. We therefore predicted that at small temporal scales, browsers will show greater net displacements (i.e. typical of searching patterns) than mixed feeders or grazers; but at larger temporal scales, we expect the opposite pattern, since gregarious species will need to use larger areas to feed the whole herd. We also predicted that the feeding/antipredatory strategy will determine the behavioural responses to other environmental factors. To test this, we compared spatial movement patterns at multiple scales (from 20-min intervals to annual home ranges) of three sympatric, similar-sized, alpine ungulates which differ in their feeding/antipredatory strategy: roe deer (solitary browsers), mouflon (gregarious grazers) and chamois (intermediate feeders in smaller groups). We used location data from GPS-collared females of the three species in the French Alps. As predicted, we found that multi-scale spatial patterns depended on the feeding/antipredatory strategy. Browsers foraged within smaller range areas, searching back and forth. Mixed feeders and, especially, grazers covered larger areas, presumably to satisfy herd needs. The feeding/antipredatory strategies also determined the interspecific variability in behavioural responses to factors such as maternal status, weather, habitat type or human disturbance, supporting our hypothesis. Exploring interspecific variability, we showed how movement behaviour and home range formation vary substantially, even among species within the same guild. This mechanism might be important to maintain intra-guild multi-species associations and increase biodiversity, through contributing to niche segregation and, thus, coexistence.

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