Please find details below of a new article added to our Bibliography:
Title: Predator niche overlap and partitioning and potential interactions in the mountains of Central Asia
Author: Kachel, S. M., Karimov, K., Wirsing, A. J.
Abstract: Direct and indirect interactions among predators affect predator fitness, distribution, and overall community structure. Yet, outside of experimental settings, such interactions are difficult to observe and thus poorly understood. Patterns of niche overlap among predators reflect and shape community interactions and may therefore help elucidate the nature and intensity of intraguild interactions. To better understand the coexistence of two apex predators, snow leopards (Panthera uncia) and wolves (Canis lupus), we investigated their spatial, temporal, and dietary niche overlap in summer in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan. We estimated population- level space use via spatial capture–recapture models based on noninvasive genetics and camera traps, diel activity patterns based on camera trap detections, and diet composition from prey remains in carnivore scats, from which we estimated coefficients between 0 and 1 for overlap in space, time, and diet, respectively. Snow
leopards and wolves displayed moderate spatial partitioning (0.26, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.17–37), but overlapping temporal (0.77, 95% CI: 0.64–0.90) and dietary (0.97, 95% CI: 0.80–0.99) niches. Both predators relied on seasonally abundant marmots (Marmota caudata) rather than wild ungulates, their typical primary prey, suggesting that despite patterns of overlap that were superficially conducive to exploitation competition and predator facilitation, prey were likely not a limiting factor. Therefore, prey-mediated interactions, if present, were unlikely to be a major structuring force in the ecosystem. By implication, carnivore conservation planning and monitoring in the mountains of Central Asia should more fully account for the seasonal importance of marmots in the ecosystem.