Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Ecology and Evolution

Publisher

John Wiley & Sons

Publication Date

11-11-2018

First Page

1

Last Page

17

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Abstract

Identifying how sympatric species belonging to the same guild coexist is a major question of community ecology and conservation. Habitat segregation between two species might help reduce the effects of interspecific competition and apex predators are of special interest in this context, because their interactions can have consequences for lower trophic levels. However, habitat segregation between sympatric large carnivores has seldom been studied. Based on monitoring of 53 brown bears (Ursus arctos) and seven sympatric adult gray wolves (Canis lupus) equipped with GPS collars in Sweden, we analyzed the degree of interspecific segregation in habitat selection within their home ranges in both late winter and spring, when their diets overlap the most. We used the K‐select method, a multivariate approach that relies on the concept of ecological niche, and randomization methods to quantify habitat segregation between bears and wolves. Habitat segregation between bears and wolves was greater than expected by chance. Wolves tended to select for moose occurrence, young forests, and rugged terrain more than bears, which likely reflects the different requirements of an omnivore (bear) and an obligate carnivore (wolf). However, both species generally avoided human‐related habitats during daytime. Disentangling the mechanisms that can drive interspecific interactions at different spatial scales is essential for understanding how sympatric large carnivores occur and coexist in human‐dominated landscapes, and how coexistence may affect lower trophic levels. The individual variation in habitat selection detected in our study may be a relevant mechanism to overcome intraguild competition and facilitate coexistence.

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