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Data from: Dynamic occupancy modeling reveals a hierarchy of competition among fishers, grey foxes, and ringtails

Citation

Green, David S. et al. (2018), Data from: Dynamic occupancy modeling reveals a hierarchy of competition among fishers, grey foxes, and ringtails, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.qb8m4

Abstract

1. Determining how species coexist is critical for understanding functional diversity, niche partitioning and interspecific interactions. Identifying the direct and indirect interactions among sympatric carnivores that enable their coexistence are particularly important to elucidate because they are integral for maintaining ecosystem function. 2. We studied the effects of removing 9 fishers (Pekania pennanti) on their population dynamics and used this perturbation to elucidate the interspecific interactions among fishers, grey foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), and ringtails (Bassariscus astutus). Grey foxes (family: Canidae) are likely to compete with fishers due to their similar body sizes and dietary overlap, and ringtails (family: Procyonidae), like fishers, are semi-arboreal species of conservation concern. We used spatial capture-recapture to investigate fisher population numbers and dynamic occupancy models that incorporated interspecific interactions to investigate the effects members of these species had on the colonization and persistence of each other’s site occupancy. 3. The fisher population showed no change in density for up to three years following the removals of fishers for translocations. In contrast, fisher site occupancy decreased in the years immediately following the translocations. During this same time period, site occupancy by grey foxes increased and remained elevated through the end of the study. 4. We found a complicated hierarchy among fishers, foxes, and ringtails. Fishers affected grey fox site persistence negatively but had a positive effect on their colonization. Foxes had a positive effect on ringtail site colonization. Thus, fishers were the dominant small carnivore where present and negatively affected foxes directly and ringtails indirectly. 5. Coexistence among the small carnivores we studied appears to reflect dynamic spatial partitioning. Conservation and management efforts should investigate how intraguild interactions may influence the recolonization of carnivores to previously occupied landscapes.

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