Data from: Predator-mediated negative effects of overabundant snow geese on arctic-nesting shorebirds
Lamarre, Jean-François et al. (2018), Data from: Predator-mediated negative effects of overabundant snow geese on arctic-nesting shorebirds, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.796t8
Overabundant species can strongly impact ecosystem functioning through trophic cascades. The strong increase in several arctic geese populations, primarily due to changes in agricultural practices in temperate regions, can have severe direct impacts on tundra ecosystems through vegetation degradation. However, predator-mediated negative effects of goose overabundance on other tundra species can also be significant but are poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that goose abundance negatively affects arctic-nesting shorebirds by increasing nest predation pressure. We used six years of data collected within and near a greater snow goose colony (Chen caerulescens atlantica) to evaluate the effect of geese on the spatial variation in (1) the occurrence of shorebird nest predators, (2) the nest predation risk (with artificial shorebird nests), and (3) the occurrence of nesting shorebirds. We found that the goose colony had a strong influence on the spatial distribution of nest predators and nesting shorebirds. Occurrence of predators decreased, while occurrence of nesting shorebirds increased with distance from the centroid of the colony. The strength of these effects was modulated by lemming density, the preferred prey for predators. Shorebird nest predation risk also decreased with distance from the colony. Overall, these results indicate that goose abundance negatively affects arctic-nesting shorebirds through shared predators. Therefore, we show that the current decline of some arctic shorebird populations may be in part mediated by a negative effect of an overabundant species.