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Title: A novel camera-based approach to understanding the foraging behaviour of mycophagous mammals
Contributor(s): Vernes, Karl A  (author)orcid ; Smith, Matthew (author); Jarman, Peter  (author)
Publication Date: 2014
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Abstract: Mammal mycophagy (consumption of fungi by mammals) is an important process in forested ecosystems around the world. Of great interest to ecologists are those mammals that excavate and consume the below-ground truffle-forming fungi that are symbiotic with forest trees. By dispersing ingested spores a vital ecosystem function is performed by these mammals. Despite this importance, virtually nothing is known about how quickly a truffle patch is discovered and depleted by mammals, how different mammal species share a common food resource, or how truffles are excavated and handled by mycophagous mammals. Using passive infrared (PIR) video camera traps, we studied truffle excavation by mammals in two widely separated temperate ecosystems: (1) Conifer Forest in New Brunswick, Canada; and (2) Eucalyptus Woodland in Tasmania, Australia. Our results show that mammals discover and deplete localised truffle resources rapidly, and that very different mammals in both ecosystems (squirrels and voles in Canada; potoroos in Australia) respond similarly to the presence of truffles in terms of foraging rates and activity patterns. The technique yielded a novel dataset on truffle excavation by mammals and the first quantitative data on visitation rates to truffle patches by a range of mammal species, throwing light on how mammals exploit this food resource.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Camera Trapping: Wildlife Management and Research, p. 215-224
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Collingwood, Australia
ISBN: 9781486300396
Field of Research (FOR): 050199 Ecological Applications not elsewhere classified
050206 Environmental Monitoring
060201 Behavioural Ecology
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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