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Of wolves and bears: Seasonal drivers of interference and exploitation competition between apex predators

Tallian, Aimee and Ordiz, Andrés and Ordiz, Andres and Metz, Matthew C. and Zimmermann, Barbara and Wikenros, Camilla and Smith, Douglas W and Stahler, Daniel R and Wabakken, Petter and Swenson, Jon E. and Sand, Håkan and Kindberg, Jonas (2022). Of wolves and bears: Seasonal drivers of interference and exploitation competition between apex predators. Ecological Monographs. 92 :2 , e1498
[Research article]

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Abstract

Competition between apex predators can alter the strength of top-down forcing, yet we know little about the behavioral mechanisms that drive competition in multipredator ecosystems. Interactions between predators can be synergistic (facilitative) or antagonistic (inhibitive), both of which are widespread in nature, vary in strength between species and across space and time, and affect predation patterns and predator-prey dynamics. Recent research has suggested that gray wolf (Canis lupus) kill rates decrease where they are sympatric with brown bears (Ursus arctos), however, the mechanisms behind this pattern remain unknown. We used data from two long-term research projects in Scandinavia (Europe) and Yellowstone National Park (North America) to test the role of interference and exploitation competition from bears on wolf predatory behavior, where altered wolf handling and search time of prey in the presence of bears are indicative of interference and exploitation competition, respectively. Our results suggest the mechanisms driving competition between bears and wolves were dependent on the season and study system. During spring in Scandinavia, interference competition was the primary mechanism driving decreased kill rates for wolves sympatric with bears; handling time increased, but search time did not. In summer, however, when both bear and wolf predation focused on neonate moose, the behavioral mechanism switched to exploitation competition; search time increased, but handling time did not. Alternartively, interference competition did affect wolf predation dynamics in Yellowstone during summer, where wolves prey more evenly on neonate and adult ungulates. Here, bear presence at a carcass increased the amount of time wolves spent at carcasses of all sizes and wolf handling time for small prey, but decreased handling time for the largest prey. Wolves facilitate scavenging opportunities for bears, however, bears alter wolf predatory behavior via multiple pathways and are primarily antagonistic to wolves. Our study helps to clarify the behavioral mechanisms driving competition between apex predators, illustrating how interspecific interactions can manifest into population-level predation patterns.

Authors/Creators:Tallian, Aimee and Ordiz, Andrés and Ordiz, Andres and Metz, Matthew C. and Zimmermann, Barbara and Wikenros, Camilla and Smith, Douglas W and Stahler, Daniel R and Wabakken, Petter and Swenson, Jon E. and Sand, Håkan and Kindberg, Jonas
Title:Of wolves and bears: Seasonal drivers of interference and exploitation competition between apex predators
Series Name/Journal:Ecological Monographs
Year of publishing :2022
Volume:92
Number:2
Article number:e1498
Number of Pages:21
Publisher:WILEY
ISSN:0012-9615
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
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
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Zoology
Keywords:Canis lupus, exploitation competition, interference competition, interspecific interactions, Scandinavia, Ursus arctos, Yellowstone
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-117164
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-117164
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1002/ecm.1498
Web of Science (WoS)000789482900013
ID Code:27974
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology

(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:23 May 2022 13:25
Metadata Last Modified:23 May 2022 13:31

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