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Title: Human-resource subsidies alter the dietary preferences of a mammalian top predator
Contributor(s): Newsome, Thomas M (author); Ballard, Guy (author); Fleming, Peter (author); van de Ven, Remy (author); Story, Georgeanna (author); Dickman, Chris (author)
Publication Date: 2014
DOI: 10.1007/s00442-014-2889-7
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Abstract: Resource subsidies to opportunistic predators may alter natural predator-prey relationships and, in turn, have implications for how these predators affect co-occurring prey. To explore this idea, we compared the prey available to and eaten by a top canid predator, the Australian dingo ('Canis lupus dingo'), in areas with and without human-provided food. Overall, small mammals formed the majority of dingo prey, followed by reptiles and then invertebrates. Where human-provided food resources were available, dingoes ate them; 17% of their diet comprised kitchen waste from a refuse facility. There was evidence of dietary preference for small mammals in areas where human-provided food was available. In more distant areas, by contrast, reptiles were the primary prey. The level of seasonal switching between small mammals and reptiles was also more pronounced in areas away from human-provided food. This reaffirmed concepts of prey switching but within a short, seasonal time frame. It also confirmed that the diet of dingoes is altered where human-provided food is available. We suggest that the availability of anthropogenic food to this species and other apex predators therefore has the potential to alter trophic cascades.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Oecologia, 175(1), p. 139-150
Publisher: Springer
Place of Publication: Germany
ISSN: 0029-8549
Field of Research (FOR): 060801 Animal Behaviour
050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
060208 Terrestrial Ecology
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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