DOI: 10.1101/503078Dec 20, 2018Paper

Established rodent community delays recovery of dominant competitor following experimental disturbance

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Erica M ChristensenMorgan Ernest


Human activities alter processes that control local biodiversity, causing changes in the abundance and identity of species in many ecosystems. However, restoring biodiversity to a previous state is rarely as simple as reintroducing lost species or restoring processes to their pre-disturbance state. Theory suggests that established species can impede shifts in species composition via a variety of mechanisms, including direct interference (e.g. territoriality), preempting resources, or habitat alteration. Here we use a long-term experimental manipulation of a desert rodent community to examine differences in the recolonization dynamics of a dominant competitor (kangaroo rats of the genus Dipodomys) when patches were already occupied by an existing rodent community relative to when patches were empty. Recovery of kangaroo rat populations was slow on plots with an established community of other rodent species, taking approximately two years. In contrast, recovery of kangaroo rat populations was rapid on empty plots with no established residents (approximately 3 months). We found little evidence that the delay in kangaroo rat colonization was due to direct interference from competitors, or could be explained by differences in habita...Continue Reading

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Genus Dipodomys
Kangaroo Care
Population Group

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