Anthropogenic impact on predator guilds and ecosystem processes: Apex predator extinctions, land use and climate change
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Humans affect ecosystems by changing species compositions, landscape and climate. This thesis aims to increase our understanding of anthropogenic effects on mesopredator abundance due to changes in apex predator status, landscape and climate. I show that in Eurasia the abundance of a mesopredator, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), is limited top-down by the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) and bottom-up by winter severity. However, where lynx has been eradicated, fox abundance is instead related to bottom-factors such as cropland (paper I, II). Fox abundance was highest when croplands constituted 25% of the landscape (paper II). I also project red fox abundance in Sweden over the past 200 years and in future scenarios in relation to lynx density, land use and climate change. The projected fox abundance was highest in 1920, when lynx was eradicated and the proportion of cropland was 22%. In 2010, when lynx had recolonised, the projected fox abundance was lower than in 1920, but higher than in 1830. Future scenarios indicated that lynx abundance must increase in respond to climate change to keep fox at the same density as today. The results suggest a mesopredator release when lynx was eradicated, boosted by land use and climate change, and that changes in bottom-up factors can modify the relative strength of top-down factors (paper IV). From 1846-1922, lynx, wolverine (Gulo gulo) and grey wolf (Canis lupus) declined in Scandinavia due to persecution; however I show that the change in wolverine abundance was positively related to the changes in lynx and wolf abundance. This indicates that wolverine is subsidized by carrions from lynx and wolf kills rather than limited top-down by them (paper III). This thesis illustrates how mesopredator abundance is determined by a combination of top-down and bottom-up processes, and how anthropogenic impacts not only can change the structures of predator guilds, but also may modify top-down processes through changes in bottom-up factors.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University , 2014. , 18 p.
Mesopredators, apex predators, top-down, bottom-up, interspecific killing, red fox, Eurasian lynx, grey wolf, wolverine, productivity, winter severity, cropland
Research subject Animal Ecology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-100720ISBN: 978-91-7447-860-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-100720DiVA: diva2:695755
2014-03-21, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Palomares, Francisco, Professor
Elmhagen, Bodil, Dr
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Submitted. Paper 4: Manuscript.
List of papers