Threatened species indicate hot-spots of top-down regulation

Wallach, A. D.  O'Neill, A. J. 

Abstract

The introduction of alien mesopredators and herbivores has been implicated as the main driver of mammalian extinction in Australia. Recent studies suggest that the devastating effects of invasive species are mitigated by top-order predators. The survival of many threatened species may therefore depend on the presence and ecological functioning of large predators. Australia’s top predator, the dingo (Canis lupus dingo), has been intensively persecuted across the continent and it is extremely rare to find dingo populations that are not being subjected to lethal control. We predicted that the presence of threatened species point out places where dingo populations are relatively intact, and that their absence may indicate that dingoes are either rare or socially fractured. A comparison of a site which harbors a threatened marsupial, the kowari (Dasyuroides byrnei), and a neighboring site where the kowari is absent, offers support for this suggested pattern.

Key words

1080 poison-baiting, Canis lupus dingo, Dasyuroides byrnei, Invasive species, Predator control, Top predator

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Índex de Volume 32.2 (2009)

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