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Data from: Spatio-temporal responses of predators to hyperabundant geese affect risk of predation for sympatric-nesting species

Citation

Flemming, Scott F. et al. (2019), Data from: Spatio-temporal responses of predators to hyperabundant geese affect risk of predation for sympatric-nesting species, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.2t64448

Abstract

The Arctic is undergoing rapid changes, with anthropogenic shifts in climate having important and well-documented impacts on habitat. Populations of predators and their prey are affected by changing climate and other anthropogenic factors, and these changing trophic interactions could have profound effects on breeding populations of Arctic birds. Variable abundance of lemmings (a primary prey of generalist Arctic predators) and increasing abundance of light geese (Lesser Snow and Ross’ Geese; a secondary prey) could have negative consequences for numerous sympatric shorebirds (an incidental prey). Using 16 years of predator-prey observations and 13-years of shorebird nest survival data at a site near a goose colony we identify relationships among geese, lemmings, and their shared predators and then relate predator indices to shorebird risk of nest predation. During two years, we also placed time-lapse cameras and artificial shorebird nests at increasing distances from a goose colony to document spatial trends in predators and their effect on risk of predation. In the long-term data, yearly indices of light geese positively influenced indices of gulls and jaegers, and shorebird nest predation rate was negatively correlated with jaeger and fox indices. All three predator indices were highest near the goose colony and artificial nest predation probability was negatively correlated with distance from goose colony, but these effects were less apparent during the second year. Combined, these results highlight the variation in predator-mediated interactions between geese and shorebirds and outline one mechanism by which hyperabundant geese may be contributing to local or regional declines in Arctic-nesting shorebird populations.

Usage Notes

Location

Arctic