Do rabbits eat voles? Apparent competition, habitat heterogeneity and large-scale coexistence under mink predation

Matthew Kenneth Oliver, Juan Jose Luque-Larena, Xavier Lambin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Habitat heterogeneity is predicted to profoundly influence the dynamics of indirect interspecific interactions; however, despite potentially significant consequences for multi-species persistence, this remains almost completely unexplored in large-scale natural landscapes. Moreover, how spatial habitat heterogeneity affects the persistence of interacting invasive and native species is also poorly understood. Here we show how the persistence of a native prey (water vole, Arvicola terrestris) is determined by the spatial distribution of an invasive prey (European rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus) and directly infer how this is defined by the mobility of a shared invasive predator (American mink, Neovison vison). This study uniquely demonstrates that variation in habitat connectivity in large-scale natural landscapes creates spatial asynchrony, enabling coexistence between apparent competitive native and invasive species. These findings highlight that unexpected interactions may be involved in species declines, and also that in such cases habitat heterogeneity should be considered in wildlife management decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1201-1209
Number of pages9
JournalEcology Letters
Volume12
Issue number11
Early online date25 Aug 2009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009

Keywords

  • Apparent competition
  • coexistence
  • indirect interactions
  • interspecific interactions
  • invasion meltdown
  • invasive species
  • metapopulation
  • predator-prey
  • spatial asynchrony
  • spatial heterogeneity
  • METAPOPULATION DYNAMICS
  • AMERICAN MINK
  • MUSTELA-VISON
  • WATER VOLES
  • ARVICOLA-TERRESTRIS
  • PREY INTERACTIONS
  • UPPER THAMES
  • PERSISTENCE
  • ISLANDS
  • COMMUNITIES
  • predator–prey

Cite this

Do rabbits eat voles? Apparent competition, habitat heterogeneity and large-scale coexistence under mink predation. / Oliver, Matthew Kenneth; Luque-Larena, Juan Jose; Lambin, Xavier.

In: Ecology Letters, Vol. 12, No. 11, 11.2009, p. 1201-1209.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Oliver, Matthew Kenneth ; Luque-Larena, Juan Jose ; Lambin, Xavier. / Do rabbits eat voles? Apparent competition, habitat heterogeneity and large-scale coexistence under mink predation. In: Ecology Letters. 2009 ; Vol. 12, No. 11. pp. 1201-1209.
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