The Ghost of the Hawk : Top Predator Shaping Bird Communities in Space and Time
Burgas, D., Ovaskainen, O., Blanchet, F. G., & Byholm, P. (2021). The Ghost of the Hawk : Top Predator Shaping Bird Communities in Space and Time. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9, Article 638039. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.638039
Published inFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
© 2021 Burgas, Ovaskainen, Blanchet and Byholm.
Despite the wide recognition that strongly interacting species can influence distributions of other species, species interactions are often disregarded when assessing or projecting biodiversity distributions. In particular, it remains largely uncharted the extent to which the disappearance of a keystone species cast repercussions in the species composition of future communities. We tested whether an avian top predator can exert both positive and negative effects on spatial distribution of other species, and if these effects persist even after the predator disappeared. We acquired bird count data at different distances from occupied and non-occupied nests of Northern goshawks Accipiter gentilis. Using a Bayesian joint species distribution model, we found that large bird species (preferred prey) are less abundant in the proximity of nests occupied by goshawks, whereas smaller species –expected to get protection from subordinate predators displaced by goshawks– more often showed an opposite association. These spatial differences level off gradually, but still persist for years after the goshawks have disappeared. This indicates that the composition of local bird populations and communities might be conditional on past species interactions. Therefore, endeavors centered around species distributions could largely benefit from acknowledging the local extinction of keystone species. ...
PublisherFrontiers Media SA
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Additional information about fundingThis study was financially supported by the Maj and Tor Nessling Foundation, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Societas pro Fauna et Flora Fennica, Svensk-Österbottniska Samfundet, and Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland (all to PB and DB), the Academy of Finland (Grants 124242 and 284601 to OO), the Research Council of Norway (SFF-III Grant No. 223257), and the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant 205905 to OO). ...
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