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Title: Evidence of niche differentiation for two sympatric vulture species in the Southeastern United States

Abstract

As obligate scavengers utilizing similar habitats, interspecific competition undoubtedly occurs between resident black (Coragyps atratus) and turkey (Cathartes aura) vultures. In the interest of exploring how sympatric species coexist through habitat segregation, we examined resource selection of resident black and turkey vultures in the southeastern United States (US) for evidence of niche differentiation. Using fine-scale movement data, we assessed interspecific seasonal differences in monthly roost reuse frequency and roost site fidelity, as well as monthly flight, roost, and diurnal rest site resource selection based on > 2.8 million locations of 9 black vultures and 9 turkey vultures tracked from September 2013 to August 2015 using Groupe Spécial Mobile/Global Positioning System (GSM/GPS) transmitters. Black vultures generally exhibited greater roost fidelity as well as a greater maximum number of nights spent at a single roost than turkey vultures. Patterns of flight, roost, and resting habitat selection within the home range varied monthly as well as between species, providing evidence for habitat segregation and niche differentiation by sympatric vultures. In particular, our results indicate the importance of wooded wetlands for resting and roosting locations for both species, and revealed clear differences in the use of forested habitats between species during flight, resting, andmore » roosting behavioral states. By examining differences in resource selection and spatial ecology of black and turkey vultures across a range of behaviors, this study demonstrates mechanisms of niche differentiation in these ecologically similar species, and enhances potential for conservation and informed management of this important group of birds.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [2];  [4];  [5]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA (United States). Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources; Univ. of Georgia, Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River Ecology Lab.
  2. Univ. of Georgia, Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River Ecology Lab.
  3. Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA (United States). Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources
  4. USDA APHIS National Wildlife Research Center, Sandusky, OH (United States)
  5. Univ. of Georgia, Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River Ecology Lab.; Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA (United States). Odum School of Ecology
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Environmental Management (EM)
OSTI Identifier:
1627062
Grant/Contract Number:  
EM0004391
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Movement Ecology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2051-3933
Publisher:
BioMed Central
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; Savannah River site; roost habitat; resource selection; landfills; competition; carrion

Citation Formats

Holland, Amanda E., Byrne, Michael E., Hepinstall-Cymerman, Jeffrey, Bryan, A. Lawrence, DeVault, Travis L., Rhodes, Olin E., and Beasley, James C. Evidence of niche differentiation for two sympatric vulture species in the Southeastern United States. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1186/s40462-019-0179-z.
Holland, Amanda E., Byrne, Michael E., Hepinstall-Cymerman, Jeffrey, Bryan, A. Lawrence, DeVault, Travis L., Rhodes, Olin E., & Beasley, James C. Evidence of niche differentiation for two sympatric vulture species in the Southeastern United States. United States. doi:10.1186/s40462-019-0179-z.
Holland, Amanda E., Byrne, Michael E., Hepinstall-Cymerman, Jeffrey, Bryan, A. Lawrence, DeVault, Travis L., Rhodes, Olin E., and Beasley, James C. Wed . "Evidence of niche differentiation for two sympatric vulture species in the Southeastern United States". United States. doi:10.1186/s40462-019-0179-z. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1627062.
@article{osti_1627062,
title = {Evidence of niche differentiation for two sympatric vulture species in the Southeastern United States},
author = {Holland, Amanda E. and Byrne, Michael E. and Hepinstall-Cymerman, Jeffrey and Bryan, A. Lawrence and DeVault, Travis L. and Rhodes, Olin E. and Beasley, James C.},
abstractNote = {As obligate scavengers utilizing similar habitats, interspecific competition undoubtedly occurs between resident black (Coragyps atratus) and turkey (Cathartes aura) vultures. In the interest of exploring how sympatric species coexist through habitat segregation, we examined resource selection of resident black and turkey vultures in the southeastern United States (US) for evidence of niche differentiation. Using fine-scale movement data, we assessed interspecific seasonal differences in monthly roost reuse frequency and roost site fidelity, as well as monthly flight, roost, and diurnal rest site resource selection based on > 2.8 million locations of 9 black vultures and 9 turkey vultures tracked from September 2013 to August 2015 using Groupe Spécial Mobile/Global Positioning System (GSM/GPS) transmitters. Black vultures generally exhibited greater roost fidelity as well as a greater maximum number of nights spent at a single roost than turkey vultures. Patterns of flight, roost, and resting habitat selection within the home range varied monthly as well as between species, providing evidence for habitat segregation and niche differentiation by sympatric vultures. In particular, our results indicate the importance of wooded wetlands for resting and roosting locations for both species, and revealed clear differences in the use of forested habitats between species during flight, resting, and roosting behavioral states. By examining differences in resource selection and spatial ecology of black and turkey vultures across a range of behaviors, this study demonstrates mechanisms of niche differentiation in these ecologically similar species, and enhances potential for conservation and informed management of this important group of birds.},
doi = {10.1186/s40462-019-0179-z},
journal = {Movement Ecology},
issn = {2051-3933},
number = 1,
volume = 7,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {10}
}

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