Interspecific interactions are key drivers in structuring animal communities. Sympatric animals may show such behavioural patterns as the differential use of space and/or time to avoid competitive encounters. We took advantage of the ecological conditions of our study area, inhabited by different ungulate species, to investigate the spatial and temporal distribution of Capreolus capreolus, Dama dama and Sus scrofa. We estimated intraspecific interaction arising from the concomitant use of resources by using camera trapping. We collected 2741 videos with the three ungulates, which showed peculiar activity patterns. The three species were observed in all the habitat types of the study area over the four seasons, thus highlighting an evident spatial overlap. Moreover, our analysis demonstrated that the three species did not avoid each other through temporal segregation of their activities, rather showing a high overlap of daily activity rhythms, though with differences among the species and the seasons. Despite the high spatial and temporal overlap, the three species seemed to adopt segregation through fine-scale spatial avoidance: at an hourly level, the proportion of sites where the species were observed together was relatively low. This spatio-temporal segregation revealed complex and alternative behavioural strategies, which likely facilitated intra-guild sympatry among the studied species. Both temporal and spatio-temporal overlap reached the highest values in summer, when environmental conditions were more demanding. Given these results, we may presume that different drivers (e.g. temperature, human disturbance), which are likely stronger than interspecific interactions, affected activity rhythms and fine-scale spatial use of the studied species.
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|Titolo:||Estimation of spatial and temporal overlap in three ungulate species in a Mediterranean environment|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2021|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|