Love thy neighbour?-Spatial variation in density dependence of nest survival in relation to predator community

Frauendorf, Magali, Allen, Andrew M., Jongejans, Eelke, Ens, Bruno J., Teunissen, Wolf, Kampichler, Christian, van Turnhout, Chris A.M., Bailey, Liam, de Kroon, Hans, Cremer, Jenny, Kleyheeg, Erik, Nienhuis, Jeroen, and van de Pol, Martijn (2022) Love thy neighbour?-Spatial variation in density dependence of nest survival in relation to predator community. Diversity and Distributions, 28 (4). pp. 624-635.

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Abstract

Aim: In many species, density-dependent effects on reproduction are an important driver of population dynamics. However, it is rarely considered that the direction of density dependence is expected to vary over space and time depending on anti-predator behaviour and predator community. Aggregation may allow for effective group mobbing against avian nest predators while aggregation may also attract mammalian predators, causing negative density dependence. We aim to quantify spatial variation in the effect of conspecific breeding density on nest survival in a mobbing bird species (Eurasian oystercatcher; Haematopus ostralegus) and identify whether this variation in density dependence can be explained by the predator community.

Location: Country-wide (The Netherlands). Methods: We integrated reproductive data with breeding territory maps of Eurasian oystercatchers and occupancy maps of avian and mammalian predator species across the Netherlands for a 10-year period.

Results: Spatial variation in the composition of the predator community explained the effects of neighbour density, showing decreasing nest survival when both conspecific density and mammalian dominance increased. Also, heterospecific density (from breeding godwits and lapwing) has an additional effect on the oystercatcher nest survival. Strikingly, this pattern did not extend to mammal-free island populations.

Main conclusions: Our study provides evidence that both the strength and sign of density dependence can vary spatially within species, implying that it is dangerous to generalize results from a single local population to large-scale management implications and modelling exercises. The study also suggests that conservation actions that aim to attract breeding birds should be prioritized in areas with fewer mammalian predators, but this idea requires further testing on island populations.

Item ID: 72476
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1472-4642
Keywords: Allee effect, anti-predator behaviour, meadow bird, mobbing, nest predation, predator-prey interaction
Copyright Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2021 The Authors. Diversity and Distributions published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2022 08:53
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310307 Population ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180606 Terrestrial biodiversity @ 100%
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