Environmental effects are stronger than human effects on mammalian predator-prey relationships in arid Australian ecosystems

Article


Allen, Benjamin L., Fawcett, Alana, Anker, Alison, Engeman, Richard M., Lisle, Allan and Leung, Luke K.-P.. 2018. "Environmental effects are stronger than human effects on mammalian predator-prey relationships in arid Australian ecosystems." Science of the Total Environment. 610-611, pp. 451-461. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.08.051
Article Title

Environmental effects are stronger than human effects on mammalian predator-prey relationships in arid Australian ecosystems

ERA Journal ID3551
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsAllen, Benjamin L. (Author), Fawcett, Alana (Author), Anker, Alison (Author), Engeman, Richard M. (Author), Lisle, Allan (Author) and Leung, Luke K.-P. (Author)
Journal TitleScience of the Total Environment
Journal Citation610-611, pp. 451-461
Number of Pages11
Year2018
PublisherElsevier
Place of PublicationNetherlands
ISSN0048-9697
1879-1026
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.08.051
Web Address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969717320491
Abstract

Climate (drought, rainfall), geology (habitat availability), land use change (provision of artificial waterpoints, introduction of livestock), invasive species (competition, predation), and direct human intervention (lethal control of top-predators) have each been identified as processes driving the sustainability of threatened fauna populations. We used a systematic combination of empirical observational studies and experimental manipulations to comprehensively evaluate the effects of these process on a model endangered rodent, dusky hopping-mice (Notomys fuscus). We established a large manipulative experiment in arid Australia, and collected information from relative abundance indices, camera traps, GPS-collared dingoes (Canis familiaris) and dingo scats, along with a range of related environmental data (e.g. rainfall, habitat type, distance to artificial water etc.). We show that hopping-mice populations were most strongly influenced by geological and climatic effects of resource availability and rainfall, and not land use, invasive species, or human effects of livestock grazing, waterpoint provision, or the lethal control of dingoes. Hopping-mice distribution declined along a geological gradient of more to less available hopping-mice habitat (sand dunes), and their abundance was driven by rainfall. Hopping-mice populations fluctuated independent of livestock presence, artificial waterpoint availability or repeated lethal dingo control. Hopping-mice populations appear to be limited first by habitat availability, then by food availability, then by predation. Contemporary top-predator control practices (for protection of livestock) have little influence on hopping-mice behaviour or population dynamics. Given our inability to constrain the effects of predation across broad scales, management actions focusing on increasing available food and habitat (e.g. alteration of fire and grazing regimes) may have a greater chance of improving the conservation status of hopping-mice and other small mammals in arid areas. Our study also reaffirms the importance of using systematic and experimental approaches to detect true drivers of population distribution and dynamics where multiple potential drivers operate simultaneously.

Keywordsdingoes, hopping-mice, rabbits, sand dune, arid zone, trophic cascade, predation, rodent, threatened species, drought, prey switching
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020310901. Animal behaviour
410401. Conservation and biodiversity
410407. Wildlife and habitat management
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsInstitute for Agriculture and the Environment
University of the Sunshine Coast
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland
National Wildlife Research Centre, United States
University of Queensland
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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Allen, Benjamin, Allen, Lee R., Ballard, Guy, Drouilly, Marine, Fleming, Peter J.S., Hampton, Jordan O., Hayward, Matthew W., Kerley, Graham I.H., Meek, Paul D., Minnie, Liaan, O'Riain, M. Justin, Parker, Daniel M. and Somers, Michael J.. 2019. "Bringing objectivity to wildlife management: Welfare effects of guardian dogs." Biological Conservation. 236, p. 582. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.04.024
Genetic sampling identifies canid predators of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) in peri-urban areas
Gentle, Matthew, Allen, Benjamin, Oakey, Jane, Speed, James, Harriott, Lana, Loader, Jo, Robbins, Amy, de Villiers, Deidre and Hanger, Jon. 2019. "Genetic sampling identifies canid predators of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) in peri-urban areas." Landscape and Urban Planning. 190, pp. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2019.103591
A roadmap to meaningful dingo conservation
Allen, Benjamin L., Allen, Lee R., Ballard, Guy, Jackson, Stephen M. and Fleming, Peter J. S.. 2017. "A roadmap to meaningful dingo conservation." Canid Biology & Conservation. 20 (11), pp. 45-56.
Large carnivore science: non-experimental studies are useful, but experiments are better
Allen, Benjamin L., Allen, Lee R., Andren, Henrik, Ballard, Guy, Boitani, Luigi, Engeman, Richard M., Fleming, Peter J. S., Ford, Adam T., Haswell, Peter M., Kowalczyk, Rafal, Linnell, John D. C., Mech, L. David and Parker, Daniel M.. 2017. "Large carnivore science: non-experimental studies are useful, but experiments are better." Food Webs. 13, pp. 49-50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fooweb.2017.06.002
Intraspecific killing behaviour of canids: how dingoes kill dingoes
Behrendorff, Linda, Belonje, Grant and Allen, Benjamin L.. 2018. "Intraspecific killing behaviour of canids: how dingoes kill dingoes." Ethology Ecology and Evolution. 30 (1), pp. 88-98. https://doi.org/10.1080/03949370.2017.1316522
Recent invasion of European red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) on to Fraser Island (K'gari) and South Stradbroke Island
Allen, Benjamin L., Behrendorff, Linda, Willsher, Lyn, Kaluza, Janina and Oakey, Jane. 2017. "Recent invasion of European red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) on to Fraser Island (K'gari) and South Stradbroke Island." Austral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere. 42 (7), pp. 752-758. https://doi.org/10.1111/aec.12494
Anti-predator meshing may provide greater protection for sea turtle nests than predator removal
O'Connor, Julie M., Limpus, Colin J., Hofmeister, Kate M., Allen, Benjamin L. and Burnett, Scott E.. 2017. "Anti-predator meshing may provide greater protection for sea turtle nests than predator removal." PLoS One. 12 (2), pp. 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0171831
Do female dingo–dog hybrids breed like dingoes or dogs?
Cursino, Marina S., Harriott, Lana, Allen, Benjamin L., Gentle, Matthew and Leung, Luke K.-P.. 2017. "Do female dingo–dog hybrids breed like dingoes or dogs?" Australian Journal of Zoology. 65 (2), pp. 112-119. https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO17005
Dingoes at the doorstep: home range sizes and activity patterns of dingoes and other wild dogs around urban areas of north-eastern Australia
McNeill, Alice T., Leung, Luke K.-P., Goullet, Mark S., Gentle, Matthew N. and Allen, Benjamin L.. 2016. "Dingoes at the doorstep: home range sizes and activity patterns of dingoes and other wild dogs around urban areas of north-eastern Australia." Animals. 6 (8), pp. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani6080048
Reply to the criticism by Johnson et al. (2014) on the report by Allen et al (2013)
Allen, B. L., Allen, L. R., Engeman, R. M. and Leung, L. K.-P.. 2014. "Reply to the criticism by Johnson et al. (2014) on the report by Allen et al (2013)." Frontiers in Zoology.
The longevity of para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) wild dog baits and the implications for effective and safe baiting campaigns
Gentle, Matthew, Speed, James, Allen, Benjamin L., Harris, Stacy, Haapakoski, Hellen and Bell, Kerry. 2017. "The longevity of para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) wild dog baits and the implications for effective and safe baiting campaigns." Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 24 (13), pp. 12338-12346. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-8668-3
Dingoes, domestic dogs, or hybrids? Genetics of peri-urban wild dogs in north-eastern Australia
Gentle, Matt, Oakey, Jane, Speed, James, Allen, Ben and Allen, Lee Robert. 2016. "Dingoes, domestic dogs, or hybrids? Genetics of peri-urban wild dogs in north-eastern Australia." 5th Queensland Pest Animal Symposium: Options, Obstacles & Outcomes. Townsville, Australia 07 - 10 Nov 2016 Queensland, Australia.
Skin and bone: observations of dingo scavenging during a chronic food shortage
Allen, Benjamin L.. 2010. "Skin and bone: observations of dingo scavenging during a chronic food shortage." Australian Mammalogy. 32 (2), pp. 207-208. https://doi.org/10.1071/AM10012
The effect of wild dog control on cattle production and biodiversity in the South Australian arid zone
Eldridge, S. R., Bird, P. L., Brook, A., Campbell, G., Miller, H. A., Read, J. L. and Allen, B. L.. 2016. The effect of wild dog control on cattle production and biodiversity in the South Australian arid zone. Port Augusta, South Australia. South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board.
From den to dust: longevity of three dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) on Fraser Island (K’gari)
Behrendorff, Linda and Allen, Benjamin L.. 2016. "From den to dust: longevity of three dingoes (Canis lupus dingo) on Fraser Island (K’gari)." Australian Mammalogy. 38 (2), pp. 256-260. https://doi.org/10.1071/AM16005
A comment on the distribution of historical and contemporary livestock grazing across Australia: implications for using dingoes for biodiversity conservation
Allen, Benjamin L.. 2011. "A comment on the distribution of historical and contemporary livestock grazing across Australia: implications for using dingoes for biodiversity conservation." Ecological Management and Restoration. 12 (1), pp. 26-30. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-8903.2011.00571.x
Additional records of small mammals in northern South Australia
Allen, B., Read, J. L. and Medlin, G.. 2011. "Additional records of small mammals in northern South Australia." Australian Mammalogy. 33 (1), pp. 68-72. https://doi.org/10.1071/AM10032
Wild dogma II: the role and implications of wild dogma for wild dog management in Australia
Allen, Benjamin L., Engeman, Richard M. and Allen, Lee R.. 2011. "Wild dogma II: the role and implications of wild dogma for wild dog management in Australia." Current Zoology. 57 (6), pp. 737-740. https://doi.org/10.1093/czoolo/57.6.737
Wild dogma: An examination of recent “evidence” for dingo regulation of invasive mesopredator release in Australia
Allen, Benjamin L., Engeman, Richard M. and Allen, Lee R.. 2011. "Wild dogma: An examination of recent “evidence” for dingo regulation of invasive mesopredator release in Australia." Current Zoology. 57 (5), pp. 568-583. https://doi.org/10.1093/czoolo/57.5.568
Top-predators as biodiversity regulators: contemporary issues affecting knowledge and management of dingoes in Australia
Allen, Benjamin L., Fleming, Peter J. S., Hayward, Matt, Allen, Lee R., Engeman, Richard M., Ballard, Guy and Leung, Luke K.-P.. 2012. "Top-predators as biodiversity regulators: contemporary issues affecting knowledge and management of dingoes in Australia." Lameed, Gbolagade Akeem (ed.) Biodiversity enrichment in a diverse world. Rijeka, Croatia. In-Tech. pp. 85-132
Scat happens: spatiotemporal fluctuation in dingo scat collection rates
Allen, Benjamin L.. 2012. "Scat happens: spatiotemporal fluctuation in dingo scat collection rates." Australian Journal of Zoology. 60 (2), pp. 137-140. https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO12038
Seven considerations about dingoes as biodiversity engineers: the socioecological niches of dogs in Australia
Fleming, Peter J. S., Allen, Benjamin L. and Ballard, Guy-Anthony. 2012. "Seven considerations about dingoes as biodiversity engineers: the socioecological niches of dogs in Australia." Australian Mammalogy. 34 (1), pp. 119-123. https://doi.org/10.1071/AM11012
Do desert dingoes drink daily? Visitation rates at remote waterpoints in the Strzelecki Desert
Allen, Benjamin L.. 2012. "Do desert dingoes drink daily? Visitation rates at remote waterpoints in the Strzelecki Desert." Australian Mammalogy. 34 (2), pp. 251-256. https://doi.org/10.1071/AM12012
Assessing predation risk to threatened fauna from their prevalence in predator scats: dingoes and rodents in arid Australia
Allen, Benjamin L. and Leung, Luke K.-P.. 2012. "Assessing predation risk to threatened fauna from their prevalence in predator scats: dingoes and rodents in arid Australia." PLoS One. 7 (5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0036426
Reintroducing the dingo: the risk of dingo predation to threatened vertebrates of western New South Wales
Allen, B. L. and Fleming, P. J. S.. 2012. "Reintroducing the dingo: the risk of dingo predation to threatened vertebrates of western New South Wales." Wildlife Research. 39 (1), pp. 35-50. https://doi.org/10.1071/WR11128
The effects of lethal control on the conservation values of Canis lupus dingo
Allen, B. L.. 2012. "The effects of lethal control on the conservation values of Canis lupus dingo." Maia, A. P. and Crussi, H. F. (ed.) Wolves: biology, behavior and conservation. New York, United States. Nova Science Publishers. pp. 79-108
The short-term effects of a routine poisoning campaign on the movements and detectability of a social top-predator
Allen, Benjamin L., Engeman, Richard M. and Leung, Luke K.-P.. 2014. "The short-term effects of a routine poisoning campaign on the movements and detectability of a social top-predator." Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 21 (3), pp. 2178-2190. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-013-2118-7
Dingoes at the doorstep: preliminary data on the ecology of dingoes in urban areas
Allen, Benjamin L., Goullet, Mark, Allen, Lee R., Lisle, Allan and Leung, Luke K.-P.. 2013. "Dingoes at the doorstep: preliminary data on the ecology of dingoes in urban areas." Landscape and Urban Planning. 119, pp. 131-135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.07.008
Intraguild relationships between sympatric predators exposed to lethal control: predator manipulation experiments
Allen, Benjamin L., Allen, Lee R., Engeman, Richard M. and Leung, Luke K.-P.. 2013. "Intraguild relationships between sympatric predators exposed to lethal control: predator manipulation experiments." Frontiers in Zoology. 10, pp. 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1186/1742-9994-10-39
Influence of dingoes on sheep distribution in Australia
Allen, B. L. and West, P.. 2013. "Influence of dingoes on sheep distribution in Australia." Australian Veterinary Journal. 91 (7), pp. 261-267. https://doi.org/10.1111/avj.12075
The success of GPS collar deployments on mammals in Australia
Matthews, Alison, Ruykys, Laura, Ellis, Bill, FitzGibbon, Sean, Lunney, Daniel, Crowther, Mathew S., Glen, Alistair S., Purcell, Brad, Moseby, Katherine, Stott, Jenny, Fletcher, Don, Wimpenny, Claire, Allen, Benjamin L., Van Bommel, Linda, Roberts, Michael, Davies, Nicole, Green, Ken, Newsome, Thomas, Ballard, Guy, ..., Wiggins, Natasha. 2013. "The success of GPS collar deployments on mammals in Australia." Australian Mammalogy. 35 (1), pp. 65-83. https://doi.org/10.1071/AM12021
Cautionary considerations for positive dingo management: a response to the Johnson and Ritchie critique of Fleming et al. (2012)
Fleming, Peter J. S., Allen, Benjamin L. and Ballard, Guy-Anthony. 2013. "Cautionary considerations for positive dingo management: a response to the Johnson and Ritchie critique of Fleming et al. (2012)." Australian Mammalogy. 35 (1), pp. 15-22. https://doi.org/10.1071/AM12036
As clear as mud: a critical review of evidence for the ecological roles of Australian dingoes
Allen, Benjamin L., Fleming, Peter J. S., Allen, Lee R., Engeman, Richard M., Ballard, Guy and Leung, Luke K.-P.. 2013. "As clear as mud: a critical review of evidence for the ecological roles of Australian dingoes." Biological Conservation. 159 (March), pp. 158-174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2012.12.004
Sympatric prey responses to lethal top-predator control: predator manipulation experiments
Allen, Benjamin L., Allen, Lee R., Engeman, Richard M. and Leung, Luke K.-P.. 2014. "Sympatric prey responses to lethal top-predator control: predator manipulation experiments." Frontiers in Zoology. 11 (1), pp. 1-30. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12983-014-0056-y
Does lethal control of top-predators release mesopredators? A re-evaluation of three Australian case studies
Allen, Benjamin L., Lundie-Jenkins, Geoff, Burrows, Neil D., Engeman, Richard M., Fleming, Peter J. S. and Leung, Luke K.-P.. 2014. "Does lethal control of top-predators release mesopredators? A re-evaluation of three Australian case studies." Ecological Management and Restoration. 15 (3), pp. 191-195. https://doi.org/10.1111/emr.12118
Management of wild canids in Australia: free-ranging dogs and red foxes
Fleming, Peter J. S., Allen, Ben L., Allen, Lee R., Ballard, Guy A., Bengsen, Andrew, Gentle, Matt, McLeod, Lynette, Meek, Paul and Saunders, Glen. 2014. "Management of wild canids in Australia: free-ranging dogs and red foxes." Glen, A. S. and Dickman, C. R. (ed.) Carnivores of Australia: past, present and future. Australia. CSIRO Publishing. pp. 107-152
Balancing dingo conservation with human safety on Fraser Island: the numerical and demographic effects of humane destruction of dingoes
Allen, B. L., Higginbottom, K., Bracks, J. H., Davies, N. and Baxter, G. S.. 2015. "Balancing dingo conservation with human safety on Fraser Island: the numerical and demographic effects of humane destruction of dingoes." Australasian Journal of Environmental Management. 22 (2), pp. 197-215. https://doi.org/10.1080/14486563.2014.999134
RE: Dingoes are a major causal factor for the decline and distribution of sheep in Australia
Allen, B. L. and West, P.. 2015. "RE: Dingoes are a major causal factor for the decline and distribution of sheep in Australia." Australian Veterinary Journal. 93 (4), pp. 90-92. https://doi.org/10.1111/avj.12311
Top-predator control-induced trophic cascades: an alternative hypothesis to the conclusion of Colman et al
Allen, Benjamin L.. 2015. "Top-predator control-induced trophic cascades: an alternative hypothesis to the conclusion of Colman et al." Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 282 (1799), pp. 1-3. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.1251
More buck for less bang: reconciling competing wildlife management interests in agricultural food webs
Allen, Benjamin L.. 2015. "More buck for less bang: reconciling competing wildlife management interests in agricultural food webs." Food Webs. 2 (1-9), pp. 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fooweb.2014.12.001
Interactions between two naturalised invasive predators in Australia: are feral cats suppressed by dingoes?
Allen, Benjamin L., Allen, Lee R. and Leung, Luke K.-P.. 2015. "Interactions between two naturalised invasive predators in Australia: are feral cats suppressed by dingoes?" Biological Invasions. 17 (2), pp. 761-776. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-014-0767-1
The distribution and density of water mice (Xeromys myoides) in the Maroochy River of Southeast Queensland, Australia
Kaluza, Janina, Donald, R. Lesley, Gynther, Ian C., Leung, Luke K-P. and Allen, Benjamin L.. 2016. "The distribution and density of water mice (Xeromys myoides) in the Maroochy River of Southeast Queensland, Australia." PLoS One. 11 (1), pp. 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0146133
The (non)effects of lethal population control on the diet of Australian dingoes
Allen, Benjamin L. and Leung, Luke K.-P.. 2014. "The (non)effects of lethal population control on the diet of Australian dingoes." PLoS One. 9 (9), pp. 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0108251
Diet of dingoes and other wild dogs in peri-urban areas of north-eastern Australia
Allen, Benjamin L., Carmelito, Erin, Amos, Matt, Goullet, Mark S., Allen, Lee R., Speed, James, Gentle, Matt and Leung, Luke -K.-P.. 2016. "Diet of dingoes and other wild dogs in peri-urban areas of north-eastern Australia." Scientific Reports. 6, pp. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep23028
Insects for breakfast and whales for dinner: the diet and body condition of dingoes on Fraser Island (K’gari)
Behrendorff, Linda, Leung, Luke K.-P., McKinnon, Allan, Hanger, Jon, Belonje, Grant, Tapply, Jenna, Jones, Darryl and Allen, Benjamin L.. 2016. "Insects for breakfast and whales for dinner: the diet and body condition of dingoes on Fraser Island (K’gari)." Scientific Reports. 6, pp. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep23469
Effects of conidial concentration and stigma wetness period on infection by the sorghum ergot pathogen Claviceps africana
Bhuiyan, S. A., Ryley, M. J., Galea, V. J., Tay, D. and Lisle, A. T.. 2009. "Effects of conidial concentration and stigma wetness period on infection by the sorghum ergot pathogen Claviceps africana ." Australasian Plant Pathology. 38 (5), pp. 496-499. https://doi.org/10.1071/AP09032
I just want to count them! Considerations when choosing a deer population monitoring method
Amos, Matthew, Baxter, Greg, Finch, Neal, Lisle, Allan and Murray, Peter. 2014. "I just want to count them! Considerations when choosing a deer population monitoring method." Wildlife Biology. 20 (6), pp. 362-370. https://doi.org/10.2981/wlb.00080
Determining the age of adult wild dogs (Canis lupus dingo, C. l. domesticus and their hybrids): I. Pulp cavity/tooth width ratios
Kershaw, K., Allen, L., Lisle, A. and Withers, K.. 2005. "Determining the age of adult wild dogs (Canis lupus dingo, C. l. domesticus and their hybrids): I. Pulp cavity/tooth width ratios." Wildlife Research. 32 (6), pp. 581-585. https://doi.org/10.1035-3712/05/060581
Use of pulp cavity/tooth width ratios to determine the age of adult wild dogs (Canis lupus dingo, C. l. domesticus and their hybrids)
Kershaw, K., Allen, L., Lisle, A. and Withers, K.. 2005. "Use of pulp cavity/tooth width ratios to determine the age of adult wild dogs (Canis lupus dingo, C. l. domesticus and their hybrids)." Cree, Alison (ed.) 22nd Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry (ANZSCPB 2005). Dunedin, New Zealand 09 - 11 Dec 2005 New Zealand.