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Network structure of vertebrate scavenger assemblages at the global scale: drivers and ecosystem functioning implications

Sebastian-Gonzalez, Esther and Morales-Reyes, Zebensui and Botella, Francisco and Naves-Alegre, Lara and Perez-Garcia, Juan M. and Mateo-Tomas, Patricia and Olea, Pedro P. and Moleon, Marcos and Barbosa, Jomar M. and Hiraldo, Fernando and Arrondo, Eneko and Donazar, Jose A. and Cortes-Avizanda, Ainara and Selva, Nuria and Lambertucci, Sergio A. and Bhattacharjee, Aishwarya and Brewer, Alexis L. and Abernethy, Erin F. and Turner, Kelsey L. and Beasley, James C. and DeVault, Travis L. and Gerke, Hannah C. and Rhodes, Olin E. and Ordiz, Andres and Wikenros, Camilla and Zimmermann, Barbara and Wabakken, Petter and Wilmers, Christopher C. and Smith, Justine A. and Kendall, Corinne J. and Ogada, Darcy and Frehner, Ethan and Allen, Maximilian L. and Wittmer, Heiko U. and Butler, James R. A. and du Toit, Johan T. and Margalida, Antoni and Oliva-Vidal, Pilar and Wilson, David and Jerina, Klemen and Krofel, Miha and Kostecke, Rich and Inger, Richard and Per, Esra and Ayhan, Yunus and Ulusoy, Hasan and Vural, Doganay and Inagaki, Akino and Koike, Shinsuke and Samson, Arockianathan and Perrig, Paula L. and Spencer, Emma and Newsome, Thomas M. and Heurich, Marco and Anadon, Jose D. and Buechley, Evan R. and Sanchez-Zapata, Jose A. (2020). Network structure of vertebrate scavenger assemblages at the global scale: drivers and ecosystem functioning implications. Ecography , 43 , 1-13
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Abstract

The organization of ecological assemblages has important implications for ecosystem functioning, but little is known about how scavenger communities organize at the global scale. Here, we test four hypotheses on the factors affecting the network structure of terrestrial vertebrate scavenger assemblages and its implications on ecosystem functioning. We expect scavenger assemblages to be more nested (i.e. structured): 1) in species-rich and productive regions, as nestedness has been linked to high competition for carrion resources, and 2) regions with low human impact, because the most efficient carrion consumers that promote nestedness are large vertebrate scavengers, which are especially sensitive to human persecution. 3) We also expect climatic conditions to affect assemblage structure, because some scavenger assemblages have been shown to be more nested in colder months. Finally, 4) we expect more organized assemblages to be more efficient in the consumption of the resource. We first analyzed the relationship between the nestedness of the scavenger assemblages and climatic variables (i.e. temperature, precipitation, temperature variability and precipitation variability), ecosystem productivity and biomass (i.e. NDVI) and degree of human impact (i.e. human footprint) using 53 study sites in 22 countries across five continents. Then, we related structure (i.e. nestedness) with its function (i.e. carrion consumption rate). We found a more nested structure for scavenger assemblages in regions with higher NDVI values and lower human footprint. Moreover, more organized assemblages were more efficient in the consumption of carrion. However, our results did not support the prediction that the structure of the scavenger assemblages is directly related to climate. Our findings suggest that the nested structure of vertebrate scavenger assemblages affects its functionality and is driven by anthropogenic disturbance and ecosystem productivity worldwide. Disarray of scavenger assemblage structure by anthropogenic disturbance may lead to decreases in functionality of the terrestrial ecosystems via loss of key species and trophic facilitation processes.

Authors/Creators:Sebastian-Gonzalez, Esther and Morales-Reyes, Zebensui and Botella, Francisco and Naves-Alegre, Lara and Perez-Garcia, Juan M. and Mateo-Tomas, Patricia and Olea, Pedro P. and Moleon, Marcos and Barbosa, Jomar M. and Hiraldo, Fernando and Arrondo, Eneko and Donazar, Jose A. and Cortes-Avizanda, Ainara and Selva, Nuria and Lambertucci, Sergio A. and Bhattacharjee, Aishwarya and Brewer, Alexis L. and Abernethy, Erin F. and Turner, Kelsey L. and Beasley, James C. and DeVault, Travis L. and Gerke, Hannah C. and Rhodes, Olin E. and Ordiz, Andres and Wikenros, Camilla and Zimmermann, Barbara and Wabakken, Petter and Wilmers, Christopher C. and Smith, Justine A. and Kendall, Corinne J. and Ogada, Darcy and Frehner, Ethan and Allen, Maximilian L. and Wittmer, Heiko U. and Butler, James R. A. and du Toit, Johan T. and Margalida, Antoni and Oliva-Vidal, Pilar and Wilson, David and Jerina, Klemen and Krofel, Miha and Kostecke, Rich and Inger, Richard and Per, Esra and Ayhan, Yunus and Ulusoy, Hasan and Vural, Doganay and Inagaki, Akino and Koike, Shinsuke and Samson, Arockianathan and Perrig, Paula L. and Spencer, Emma and Newsome, Thomas M. and Heurich, Marco and Anadon, Jose D. and Buechley, Evan R. and Sanchez-Zapata, Jose A.
Title:Network structure of vertebrate scavenger assemblages at the global scale: drivers and ecosystem functioning implications
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:0
Article number:43
Number of Pages:13
Publisher:Wiley Open Access
ISSN:0906-7590
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Keywords:carrion, consumption rate, ecological networks, global change, macroecology, NDVI
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-105697
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-105697
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1111/ecog.05083
Web of Science (WoS)000530883000001
ID Code:17098
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:18 Jun 2020 13:07
Metadata Last Modified:18 Jun 2020 13:07

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