Advertisement

Community Ecology

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 206–214 | Cite as

Heterospecific competition and attraction in grassland bird communities differ with habitat quality

  • S. L. McGuireEmail author
  • J. J. Nocera
Article

Abstract

The behavioral basis for habitat selection has been intensively studied, but comparatively little attention has been paid to how the resultant species assemblages are formed or affected. Further, how habitat quality interacts with behavior during habitat selection needs greater exploration. We sought to identify some of the behavioral interactions influencing the development of bird assemblages in agricultural habitats, which we consider a structurally simple model system. We performed point counts in non-cultivated meadows, intensive agriculture, and non-intensive agriculture areas in the 2011 and 2012 breeding seasons in which we particularly focussed on Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna), Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla), Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis), and Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetus gramineus). Using presence-absence matrices and EcoSim software on 2011 census data, we determined where competition was likely to occur, and which species were competing. In 2012, we experimentally tested these relationships by introducing artificial competitors onto sites. We implemented a before-after control-impact study by comparing presence-absence data from 2011 to 2012 and using multinomial logistic regression. We found grassland bird assemblages are structured by interspecific competition or attraction. The experimental introduction of Grasshopper Sparrows resulted in several presence/absence changes, which differed based on habitat quality, by conspecifics and four heterospecifics (especially Bobolinks). We speculate that the response to competitors is actually determined by the relative quality of each habitat type for each species.

Keywords

BACI Community ecology Conspecific attraction Grassland birds 

Abbreviations

BACI

before-after control-impact

CONT

control

C-score

checkerboard score

DF

degrees of freedom

FISP

Field Sparrow decoy and playback

GRSP

Grasshopper Sparrow decoy and playback

IAG

intensive agriculture

NAG

non-intensive agriculture

NCM

non-cultivated meadow

obs

observed matrices

sim

simulated matrices

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Supplementary material

42974_2015_1602203_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (154 kb)
Supplementary material, approximately 157 KB.

References

  1. Ahlering, M.A. and J. Faaborg. 2006. Avian habitat management meets conspecific attraction: If you build it, will they come? Auk 123: 301–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahlering, M.A., D.H. Johnson and J. Faaborg. 2006. Conspecific attraction in a grassland bird, the Baird’s Sparrow. J. Field Ornithol. 77: 365–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ahlering, M.A., D. Arlt, M.G. Betts, R.J. Fletcher Jr., J.J. Nocera and M.P. Ward. 2010. Research needs and recommendations for the use of conspecific attraction – Methods in the conservation of migratory songbirds. Condor 112: 252–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Askins, R.A. 1993. Population trends in grassland, shrubland, and forest birds in eastern North America. Curr. Ornithol. 11: 1–34Google Scholar
  5. Askins, R.A. 2000. Restoring North America’s Birds: Lessons from landscape ecology. Yale University Press. New Haven, CT, USA.Google Scholar
  6. Betts, M.G., A.S. Hadley, N. Rodenhouse and J.J. Nocera. 2008. Social information trumps vegetation structure in breeding-site selection by a migrant songbird. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B Biol. 275: 2257–2263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Betts, M.G., J.J. Nocera and A.S. Hadley. 2010. Settlement in novel habitats induced by social information may disrupt community structure. Condor 112: 265–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boren, J.C., D.M. Engle and R.E. Masters. 1997. Vegetation cover type and avian species changes on landscapes within a wildland-urban interface. Ecol. Model.103: 251–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bruno, J.F., J.J. Stachowicz and M.D. Bertness. 2003. Inclusion of facilitation into ecological theory. Trends Ecol. Evol. 18: 119–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carey, M., D.E. Burhans and D.A. Nelson. 2008. Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla). In: A. Poole (ed.), Birds N Am Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Cavitt, J.F. and C.A. Haas. 2000. Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum). In: A. Poole (ed.), Birds N Am Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.Google Scholar
  12. Connor, E.F. and D. Simberloff. 1979. The assembly of species communities: chance or competition? Ecology 60: 1132–1140.Google Scholar
  13. Conover, R.R., S.J. Dinsmore and J.W. Burger. 2011. Effects of conservation practices on bird nest density and survival in intensive agriculture. Agr. Ecosyst. Environ. 141: 126–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. COSSARO. 2010. COSSARO Candidate Species at Risk Evaluation Form for Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus). 1–7.Google Scholar
  15. COSSARO. 2011. COSSARO Candidate Species at Risk Evaluation Form for Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna). 1–15.Google Scholar
  16. Elton, C. 1946. Competition and the structure of ecological communities. J. Anim. Ecol. 15: 54–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Entsminger, G.L. 2012. EcoSim Professional: Null modeling software for ecologists, Version 1. Acquired Intelligence Inc., Kesey-Bear, & Pinyon Publishing. Montrose, CO. http://www.garyentsminger.com/ecosim/index.htmGoogle Scholar
  18. Fletcher, R.J. Jr. 2006. Emergent properties of conspecific attraction in fragmented landscapes. Am. Nat. 168: 207–219.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. Fletcher, R.J. Jr. 2007. Species interactions and population density mediate the use of social cues for habitat selection. J. Anim. Ecol. 76: 598–606.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  20. Forsman, J.T., J.T. Seppänen and M. Mönkkönen. 2002. Positive fitness consequences of interspecific interaction with a potential competitor. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B Biol. 269: 1619–1623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gotelli, N.J. 2000. Null model analysis of species co-occurrence patterns. Ecology 81: 2606–2621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hardin, G. 1960. The competitive exclusion principle. Science 131: 1292–1297.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Heckenlively, D.B. 1976. Cadence of Field Sparrow songs. Wilson Bull. 88: 588–602.Google Scholar
  24. Jaster, L.A., W.E. Jensen and W.E. Lanyon. 2012. Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna). In: A. Poole (ed.), Birds N Am Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.Google Scholar
  25. Johnson, L.S. 1998. House Wren (Troglodytes aedon). In: A. Poole (ed.), Birds N Am Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.Google Scholar
  26. Jones, S.L. and J.E. Cornely. 2002. Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus). In: A. Poole (ed.), Birds N Am Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.Google Scholar
  27. Martin, S.G. and T.A. Gavin. 1995. Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus). In: A. Poole (ed.), Birds N Am Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.Google Scholar
  28. McGuire, S.L. 2014. Habitat use and community structure of grassland birds in southern Ontario agro-ecosystems. Master’s Thesis, Trent University, Peterborough, ON. viii +120 pp.Google Scholar
  29. Miller, G.T. Jr. and D. Hackett. 2011. Living in the Environment (2ndCanadian ed.). Nelson Education Ltd., Toronto, Ontario.Google Scholar
  30. Mönkkönen, M., P. Helle and K. Soppela. 1990. Numerical and behavioral responses of migrant passerines to experimental manipulation of resident tits (Parus spp.): Heterospecific attraction in northern breeding bird communities. Oecologia 85: 218–225.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. Nocera, J.J. and M.G. Betts. 2010. The role of social information in avian habitat selection. Condor 112: 222–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nocera, J.J., G.J. Forbes and L.-A. Giraldeau. 2006. Inadvertent social information in breeding site selection of natal dispersing birds. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B Biol. 273: 349–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nocera, J.J., G.J. Forbes and L.-A. Giraldeau. 2009. Aggregations from using inadvertent social information: a form of ideal habitat selection. Ecography 32: 143–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Parejo, D., E. Danchin and J.M. Aviles. 2004. The heterospecific habitat copying hypothesis: can competitors indicate habitat quality? Behav. Ecol. 16: 96–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pinheiro, J., D. Bates, S. DebRoy, D. Sarkar and the R Development Core Team. 2013. nlme: Linear and Nonlinear Mixed Effects Models. R package version 3.1–109.Google Scholar
  36. Proppe, D.S. and G. Ritchison. 2008. Use and possible functions of the primary and sustained songs of male Grasshopper Sparrows. Am. Midl. Nat. 160: 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. R Development Core Team. 2013. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL http://www.R-project.org/
  38. Ray C., M. Gilpin and A.T. Smith. 1991. The effect of conspecific attraction on metapopulation dynamics. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 42: 123–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Roughgarden, J. 1983. Competition and theory in community ecology. Am. Nat. 122: 583–601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Seppänen, J.-T., J.T. Forsman, M. Mönkkönen and R.L. Thomson. 2007. Social information use is a process across time, space, and ecology, reaching heterospecifics. Ecology 88: 1622–1633.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  41. Sinclair, A.R.E. 1991. Science and the practice of wildlife management. J. Wildlife Manage. 55: 767–773.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Starkweather, J. and A.K. Moske. 2011. “Multinomial Logistic Regression.” Retrieved from: http://www.unt.edu/rss/class/Jon/ Benchmarks/MLR_JDS_Aug2011.pdf
  43. Strong, D. Jr., L. Szyska and D. Simberloff. 1979. Tests of community-wide character displacement against null hypotheses. Evolution 33: 897–913.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  44. Styring, A.R., R. Ragai, J. Unggang, R. Stuebing, P. Hosner and F.H. Sheldon. 2011. Bird community assembly in Bornean industrial tree plantations: Effect of forest age and structure. Forest Ecol. Manage. 261: 531–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Terborgh, J. 1985. Habitat selection in Amazonian birds. In: M.L. Cody (ed.), Habitat Selection in Birds. Academic Press, New York, NY. pp. 311–338.Google Scholar
  46. Venables, W.N. and B.D. Ripley. 2002. Modern Applied Statistics with S (4th Edition). Springer, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Vickery, P.D. 1996. Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum). In: A. Poole (ed.), Birds N Am Online. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.Google Scholar
  48. Ward, M.P. and S. Schlossberg. 2004. Conspecific attraction and the conservation of territorial songbirds. Conserv. Biol. 18: 519–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2015

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate ProgramTrent UniversityPeterboroughCanada
  2. 2.Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry, DNA BuildingTrent UniversityPeterboroughCanada

Personalised recommendations