Temporal coexistence in a carnivore assemblage from central Mexico: temporal-domain dependence
Species coexistence at a given locality generally implies segregation along one of the three resource dimensions of the ecological niche: spatial, trophic or temporal. Temporal activity patterns of species are ecologically important as they expose how species exploit their environments. Using camera traps, we evaluated the temporal activity patterns and temporal overlap for a mammalian carnivore assemblage from Sierra Nanchititla Natural Park, central Mexico. We characterized and compared temporal activity patterns and temporal overlap between species pairs using circular statistics. Temporal overlap was analyzed using three temporal domains (full diel, diurnal, and nocturnal), and null models were used to contrast the empirical assemblage-wide temporal overlap in relation to randomly generated distributions. We found that pair-wise temporal overlap comparisons among species were quite heterogeneous and dependent on the temporal domain used for the analyses. Two major inferences can be derived from pair-wise analyses and the null model: (a) most of the carnivore assemblage show a nocturnal activity pattern in common and (b) most of the pair-wise comparisons indicate temporal segregation among species. The highest temporal overlap at the assemblage-wide level was found when only the nocturnal domain was evaluated and we found coincident temporal activities at the full domain level, independent of the temporal resolution used. Overall, our results suggest that carnivores with distinct trophic and habitat use like the margay (Leopardus wiedii) and gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) had temporal overlapping activity patterns to full diel and nocturnal domains, and species with similar trophic and habitat use always presented temporal segregation (gray fox and white-nosed coati, Nasua narica). Finally, species with predator-prey relationships (white-nosed coati and cougar, Puma concolor) showed segregation during the day but overlap at night. Our results indicate that species temporal activity patterns likely change in relation to different interspecific interactions such as predation and competition to allow species coexistence within this carnivore assemblage.
KeywordsTemporal activity pattern Carnivore Overlap Null model Temporal segregation
We thank all students that helped as volunteer field assistants and to the rangers of Sierra Nanchititla Biological Station and CEPANAF for their support in field. We also thank to Dr. Joseph Veech for reviewing the English grammar of the first version of our draft. The comments from one anonymous reviewer and the detailed help of the editor enhanced the clarity of the final version of this manuscript.
This work was supported by CONACYT (project #105254 and the scholarship #255868 for graduate studies of Gómez-Ortiz Y.) and PROMEP (project #103.5/10/0942).
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