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1.
Zootaxa ; 4564(1): zootaxa.4564.1.6, 2019 Mar 04.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31716519

RESUMO

The taxonomic status and systematic nomenclature of the Australian dingo remain contentious, resulting in decades of inconsistent applications in the scientific literature and in policy. Prompted by a recent publication calling for dingoes to be considered taxonomically as domestic dogs (Jackson et al. 2017, Zootaxa 4317, 201-224), we review the issues of the taxonomy applied to canids, and summarise the main differences between dingoes and other canids. We conclude that (1) the Australian dingo is a geographically isolated (allopatric) species from all other Canis, and is genetically, phenotypically, ecologically, and behaviourally distinct; and (2) the dingo appears largely devoid of many of the signs of domestication, including surviving largely as a wild animal in Australia for millennia. The case of defining dingo taxonomy provides a quintessential example of the disagreements between species concepts (e.g., biological, phylogenetic, ecological, morphological). Applying the biological species concept sensu stricto to the dingo as suggested by Jackson et al. (2017) and consistently across the Canidae would lead to an aggregation of all Canis populations, implying for example that dogs and wolves are the same species. Such an aggregation would have substantial implications for taxonomic clarity, biological research, and wildlife conservation. Any changes to the current nomen of the dingo (currently Canis dingo Meyer, 1793), must therefore offer a strong, evidence-based argument in favour of it being recognised as a subspecies of Canis lupus Linnaeus, 1758, or as Canis familiaris Linnaeus, 1758, and a successful application to the International Commission for Zoological Nomenclature - neither of which can be adequately supported. Although there are many species concepts, the sum of the evidence presented in this paper affirms the classification of the dingo as a distinct taxon, namely Canis dingo.


Assuntos
Canidae , Lobos , Animais , Austrália , Cães , Filogenia
2.
Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc ; 94(3): 981-998, 2019 06.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30565370

RESUMO

Movement is a trait of fundamental importance in ecosystems subject to frequent disturbances, such as fire-prone ecosystems. Despite this, the role of movement in facilitating responses to fire has received little attention. Herein, we consider how animal movement interacts with fire history to shape species distributions. We consider how fire affects movement between habitat patches of differing fire histories that occur across a range of spatial and temporal scales, from daily foraging bouts to infrequent dispersal events, and annual migrations. We review animal movements in response to the immediate and abrupt impacts of fire, and the longer-term successional changes that fires set in train. We discuss how the novel threats of altered fire regimes, landscape fragmentation, and invasive species result in suboptimal movements that drive populations downwards. We then outline the types of data needed to study animal movements in relation to fire and novel threats, to hasten the integration of movement ecology and fire ecology. We conclude by outlining a research agenda for the integration of movement ecology and fire ecology by identifying key research questions that emerge from our synthesis of animal movements in fire-prone ecosystems.


Assuntos
Ecossistema , Fogo , Atividade Motora , Animais , Conservação dos Recursos Naturais , Dinâmica Populacional
3.
PLoS One ; 13(8): e0201300, 2018.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30089131

RESUMO

For generalist predators, a mixed diet can be advantageous as it allows individuals to exploit a potentially broad range of profitable food types. Despite this, some generalist predators show preferences for certain types of food and may forage selectively in places or at times when these foods are available. One such species is the lesser hairy-footed dunnart (Sminthopsis youngsoni). Usually considered to be a generalist insectivore, in the Simpson Desert, Australia, this small marsupial predator has been found to selectively consume wolf spiders (Family Lycosidae), for reasons yet unknown. Here, we tested whether lycosids have relatively high energy or nutrient contents compared to other invertebrates, and hence whether these aspects of food quality can explain selective predation of lycosids by S. youngsoni. Energy, lipid and protein composition of representatives of 9 arthropod families that are eaten by S. youngsoni in the Simpson Desert were ascertained using microbomb calorimetry, chloroform-methanol extraction and Dumas combustion, respectively. Although lycosids contained a high proportion of energy and nutrients, they were not found to yield statistically greater amounts of these food components than many other available arthropod prey that are not selected by S. youngsoni. Our results therefore suggest that alternative factors may be more influential in shaping dietary selection in this marsupial predator, such as high rates of encounter between lycosids and S. youngsoni.


Assuntos
Metabolismo Energético/fisiologia , Cadeia Alimentar , Marsupiais/fisiologia , Modelos Biológicos , Comportamento Predatório , Animais , Aranhas
4.
R Soc Open Sci ; 5(5): 171872, 2018 May.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29892379

RESUMO

Interspecific competition may occur when resources are limited, and is often most intense between animals in the same ecological guild. Intraguild predation (IGP) is a distinctive form of interference competition, where a dominant predator selectively kills subordinate rivals to gain increased access to resources. However, before IGP can be identified, organisms must be confirmed as members of the same guild and occur together in space and time. The lesser hairy-footed dunnart (Sminthopsis youngsoni, Dasyuridae) is a generalist marsupial insectivore in arid Australia, but consumes wolf spiders (Lycosa spp., Lycosidae) disproportionately often relative to their availability. Here, we test the hypothesis that this disproportionate predation is a product of frequent encounter rates between the interactants due to high overlap in their diets and use of space and time. Diet and prey availability were determined using direct observations and invertebrate pitfall trapping, microhabitat use by tracking individuals of both species-groups, and temporal activity using spotlighting and camera traps. Major overlap (greater than 75% similarity) was found in diet and temporal activity, and weaker overlap in microhabitat use. Taken together, these findings suggest reasonable potential, for the first time, for competition and intraguild predation to occur between taxa as disparate as marsupials and spiders.

5.
Sci Total Environ ; 634: 382-393, 2018 Sep 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29627562

RESUMO

An unprecedented rate of global environmental change is predicted for the next century. The response to this change by ecosystems around the world is highly uncertain. To address this uncertainty, it is critical to understand the potential drivers and mechanisms of change in order to develop more reliable predictions. Australia's Long Term Ecological Research Network (LTERN) has brought together some of the longest running (10-60years) continuous environmental monitoring programs in the southern hemisphere. Here, we compare climatic variables recorded at five LTERN plot network sites during their period of operation and place them into the context of long-term climatic trends. Then, using our unique Australian long-term datasets (total 117 survey years across four biomes), we synthesize results from a series of case studies to test two hypotheses: 1) extreme weather events for each plot network have increased over the last decade, and; 2) trends in biodiversity will be associated with recent climate change, either directly or indirectly through climate-mediated disturbance (wildfire) responses. We examined the biodiversity responses to environmental change for evidence of non-linear behavior. In line with hypothesis 1), an increase in extreme climate events occurred within the last decade for each plot network. For hypothesis 2), climate, wildfire, or both were correlated with biodiversity responses at each plot network, but there was no evidence of non-linear change. However, the influence of climate or fire was context-specific. Biodiversity responded to recent climate change either directly or indirectly as a consequence of changes in fire regimes or climate-mediated fire responses. A national long-term monitoring framework allowed us to find contrasting species abundance or community responses to climate and disturbance across four of the major biomes of Australia, highlighting the need to establish and resource long-term monitoring programs across representative ecosystem types, which are likely to show context-specific responses.

6.
Nat Commun ; 8: 15469, 2017 05 23.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28534486

RESUMO

Top predators can suppress mesopredators by killing them, competing for resources and instilling fear, but it is unclear how suppression of mesopredators varies with the distribution and abundance of top predators at large spatial scales and among different ecological contexts. We suggest that suppression of mesopredators will be strongest where top predators occur at high densities over large areas. These conditions are more likely to occur in the core than on the margins of top predator ranges. We propose the Enemy Constraint Hypothesis, which predicts weakened top-down effects on mesopredators towards the edge of top predators' ranges. Using bounty data from North America, Europe and Australia we show that the effects of top predators on mesopredators increase from the margin towards the core of their ranges, as predicted. Continuing global contraction of top predator ranges could promote further release of mesopredator populations, altering ecosystem structure and contributing to biodiversity loss.

7.
PLoS One ; 12(4): e0175014, 2017.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28384186

RESUMO

Growth in the publication of scientific articles is occurring at an exponential rate, prompting a growing need to synthesise information in a timely manner to combat urgent environmental problems and guide future research. Here, we undertake a topic analysis of dryland literature over the last 75 years (8218 articles) to identify areas in arid ecology that are well studied and topics that are emerging. Four topics-wetlands, mammal ecology, litter decomposition and spatial modelling, were identified as 'hot topics' that showed higher than average growth in publications from 1940 to 2015. Five topics-remote sensing, climate, habitat and spatial, agriculture and soils-microbes, were identified as 'cold topics', with lower than average growth over the survey period, but higher than average numbers of publications. Topics in arid ecology clustered into seven broad groups on word-based similarity. These groups ranged from mammal ecology and population genetics, broad-scale management and ecosystem modelling, plant ecology, agriculture and ecophysiology, to populations and paleoclimate. These patterns may reflect trends in the field of ecology more broadly. We also identified two broad research gaps in arid ecology: population genetics, and habitat and spatial research. Collaborations between population genetics and ecologists and investigations of ecological processes across spatial scales would contribute profitably to the advancement of arid ecology and to ecology more broadly.


Assuntos
Ecologia/tendências , Ecossistema
8.
R Soc Open Sci ; 4(11): 170384, 2017 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29291051

RESUMO

Climate change is predicted to place up to one in six species at risk of extinction in coming decades, but extinction probability is likely to be influenced further by biotic interactions such as predation. We use structural equation modelling to integrate results from remote camera trapping and long-term (17-22 years) regional-scale (8000 km2) datasets on vegetation and small vertebrates (greater than 38 880 captures) to explore how biotic processes and two key abiotic drivers influence the structure of a diverse assemblage of desert biota in central Australia. We use our models to predict how changes in rainfall and wildfire are likely to influence the cover and productivity of the dominant vegetation and the impacts of predators on their primary rodent prey over a 100-year timeframe. Our results show that, while vegetation cover may decline due to climate change, the strongest negative effect on prey populations in this desert system is top-down suppression from introduced predators.

10.
Oecologia ; 182(2): 475-85, 2016 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27337964

RESUMO

Resources are seldom distributed equally across space, but many species exhibit spatially synchronous population dynamics. Such synchrony suggests the operation of large-scale external drivers, such as rainfall or wildfire, or the influence of oasis sites that provide water, shelter, or other resources. However, testing the generality of these factors is not easy, especially in variable environments. Using a long-term dataset (13-22 years) from a large (8000 km(2)) study region in arid Central Australia, we tested firstly for regional synchrony in annual rainfall and the dynamics of six reptile species across nine widely separated sites. For species that showed synchronous spatial dynamics, we then used multivariate follow a multivariate auto-regressive state-space (MARSS) models to predict that regional rainfall would be positively associated with their populations. For asynchronous species, we used MARSS models to explore four other possible population structures: (1) populations were asynchronous, (2) differed between oasis and non-oasis sites, (3) differed between burnt and unburnt sites, or (4) differed between three sub-regions with different rainfall gradients. Only one species showed evidence of spatial population synchrony and our results provide little evidence that rainfall synchronizes reptile populations. The oasis or the wildfire hypotheses were the best-fitting models for the other five species. Thus, our six study species appear generally to be structured in space into one or two populations across the study region. Our findings suggest that for arid-dwelling reptile populations, spatial and temporal dynamics are structured by abiotic events, but individual responses to covariates at smaller spatial scales are complex and poorly understood.


Assuntos
Meio Ambiente , Dinâmica Populacional , Répteis , Animais , Austrália
11.
Oecologia ; 175(4): 1349-58, 2014 Aug.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24908053

RESUMO

Top predators are declining globally, in turn allowing populations of smaller predators, or mesopredators, to increase and potentially have negative effects on biodiversity. However, detection of interactions among sympatric predators can be complicated by fluctuations in the background availability of resources in the environment, which may modify both the numbers of predators and the strengths of their interactions. Here, we first present a conceptual framework that predicts how top-down and bottom-up interactions may regulate sympatric predator populations in environments that experience resource pulses. We then test it using 2 years of remote-camera trapping data to uncover spatial and temporal interactions between a top predator, the dingo Canis dingo, and the mesopredatory European red fox Vulpes vulpes and feral cat Felis catus, during population booms, declines and busts in numbers of their prey in a model desert system. We found that dingoes predictably suppress abundances of the mesopredators and that the effects are strongest during declines and busts in prey numbers. Given that resource pulses are usually driven by large yet infrequent rains, we conclude that top predators like the dingo provide net benefits to prey populations by suppressing mesopredators during prolonged bust periods when prey populations are low and potentially vulnerable.


Assuntos
Animais Selvagens , Comportamento Predatório , Animais , Biodiversidade , Gatos , Bovinos , Cães , Meio Ambiente , Cadeia Alimentar , Raposas , Modelos Teóricos , Dinâmica Populacional
12.
Ecol Appl ; 24(8): 2013-28, 2014.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29185669

RESUMO

Biodiversity conservation in rangeland environments is often addressed by removing livestock, but inconsistent responses by biota mean that the efficacy of this form of management is hotly debated. Reasons for this inconsistency include the usually short duration and small spatial scale of manipulations compared to the area of grazing properties, as well as divergent responses amongst biota. In low-productivity arid environments, the pulse-reserve dynamic also complicates the outcome of manipulations. Here, we tested and extended these ideas in a heterogeneous desert environment in central Australia that consists of small patches of open woodland (gidgee) in a grassland (spinifex) matrix. Taking advantage of a controlled property-scale removal of cattle, and a rain event that stimulated productivity, we first quantified differences in the vegetation and small vertebrates of these two habitats, and then tracked the diversity, composition, and abundance of these biota for 6­19 months post-rain. We predicted that the two habitats would differ in the structure, composition, and reproductive output of their constituent plant species. We predicted also that the effects of cattle removal would interact with these habitat differences, with the abundance, richness, and diversity of small mammals and reptiles differing across habitats and grazing treatments. As anticipated, plant species composition in woodland was distinct from that in grassland and varied over time. The effects of cattle removal were habitat specific: Plant composition responded to de-stocking in woodland, but not in grassland; flowers were more abundant, and palatable plant cover also was greater following cessation of grazing pressure. The responses of small mammals but not reptiles showed some accord with our predictions, varying over time but inconsistently with treatment, and perhaps reflected high variability in capture success. We conclude that the timing and length of sampling are important when evaluating the responses of biota to livestock removal, as is the inclusion of all key habitats in the sampling regime.


Assuntos
Biodiversidade , Recuperação e Remediação Ambiental , Florestas , Pradaria , Chuva , Criação de Animais Domésticos , Animais , Austrália , Conservação dos Recursos Naturais/métodos , Meio Ambiente , Monitoramento Ambiental , Mamíferos/classificação , Plantas/classificação , Répteis/classificação
13.
PLoS One ; 8(7): e68466, 2013.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-23874635

RESUMO

Arid grasslands are used worldwide for grazing by domestic livestock, generating debate about how this pastoral enterprise may influence native desert biota. One approach to resolving this question is to experimentally reduce livestock numbers and measure the effects. However, a key challenge in doing this is that historical grazing impacts are likely to be cumulative and may therefore confound comparisons of the short-term responses of desert biota to changes in stocking levels. Arid areas are also subject to infrequent flooding rainfalls that drive productivity and dramatically alter abundances of flora and fauna. We took advantage of an opportunity to study the recent effects of a property-scale cattle removal on two properties with similarly varied grazing histories in central Australia. Following the removal of cattle in 2006 and before and after a significant rainfall event at the beginning of 2007, we sampled vegetation and small vertebrates on eight occasions until October 2008. Our results revealed significant interactions of time of survey with both grazing history and grazing removal for vascular plants, small mammals and reptiles. The mammals exhibited a three-way interaction of time, grazing history and grazing removal, thus highlighting the importance of careful sampling designs and timing for future monitoring. The strongest response to the cessation of grazing after two years was depressed reproductive output of plants in areas where cattle continued to graze. Our results confirm that neither vegetation nor small vertebrates necessarily respond immediately to the removal of livestock, but that rainfall events and cumulative grazing history are key determinants of floral and faunal performance in grassland landscapes with low and variable rainfall. We suggest that improved assessments could be made of the health of arid grazing environments if long-term monitoring were implemented to track the complex interactions that influence how native biota respond to grazing.


Assuntos
Biota , Clima Desértico , Chuva , Animais , Bovinos , Conservação dos Recursos Naturais , Ecossistema , Gado
14.
Ecol Evol ; 2(11): 2645-58, 2012 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-23170202

RESUMO

Extreme climatic events, such as flooding rains, extended decadal droughts and heat waves have been identified increasingly as important regulators of natural populations. Climate models predict that global warming will drive changes in rainfall and increase the frequency and severity of extreme events. Consequently, to anticipate how organisms will respond we need to document how changes in extremes of temperature and rainfall compare to trends in the mean values of these variables and over what spatial scales the patterns are consistent. Using the longest historical weather records available for central Australia - 100 years - and quantile regression methods, we investigate if extreme climate events have changed at similar rates to median events, if annual rainfall has increased in variability, and if the frequency of large rainfall events has increased over this period. Specifically, we compared local (individual weather stations) and regional (Simpson Desert) spatial scales, and quantified trends in median (50th quantile) and extreme weather values (5th, 10th, 90th, and 95th quantiles). We found that median and extreme annual minimum and maximum temperatures have increased at both spatial scales over the past century. Rainfall changes have been inconsistent across the Simpson Desert; individual weather stations showed increases in annual rainfall, increased frequency of large rainfall events or more prolonged droughts, depending on the location. In contrast to our prediction, we found no evidence that intra-annual rainfall had become more variable over time. Using long-term live-trapping records (22 years) of desert small mammals as a case study, we demonstrate that irruptive events are driven by extreme rainfalls (>95th quantile) and that increases in the magnitude and frequency of extreme rainfall events are likely to drive changes in the populations of these species through direct and indirect changes in predation pressure and wildfires.

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