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A mechanistic understanding of repellent function against mammalian herbivores
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Number of Authors: 42019 (English)In: Ecological processes, ISSN 2192-1709, Vol. 8, article id 25Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Browsing repellents are widely used to deter large herbivores from consuming plants of ecological,economic and aesthetic importance. Understanding how these repellents function on a behavioural mechanisticlevel is critical to predicting effectiveness. Here, we illustrate how these mechanisms can be tested, by exposing amodel mammalian herbivore, the fallow deer, to different concentrations of a commercial chemical repellent(HaTe2) in two-choice feeding trials.

Results:The repellent acted as a defensive chemical for the food by both reducing visitation and the amountconsumed. Deer favoured the less defended feeders before ingesting any food, suggesting that the repellentaltered olfactory and/or visual cues. Deer also consumed less of the more defended food when choosing betweenlow and high repellent feeders than no and low repellent feeders, indicating that the repellent modified flavourand/or sensation. Repellent effectiveness declined with increased exposure, suggesting that consumption had nonegative post-ingestive effects, and thus, deterrence was not caused by a conditioned aversion or irritation. Instead,this pattern suggests that deer learned, through repeated sampling of repellent-treated food, that there was noadverse physiological effect of ingesting it.

Conclusions:These results imply that HaTe2 repellent will not be effective over prolonged periods or in theabsence of alternative untreated food. Understanding the mechanisms driving repellent function using two-choicetrials could help practitioners decide whether a particular repellent is likely to be effective against mammalianherbivory in their management scenario.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 8, article id 25
Keywords [en]
Browse, Foraging decisions, Forestry, Ungulate, Wildlife damage
National Category
Environmental Sciences Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-170778DOI: 10.1186/s13717-019-0179-3ISI: 000473605600001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-170778DiVA, id: diva2:1338394
Available from: 2019-07-22 Created: 2019-07-22 Last updated: 2019-07-22Bibliographically approved

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