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Hoarding of pulsed resources : temporal variations in egg-caching by arctic fox

Careau, Vincent, Lecomte, Nicolas, Bety, Joel, Giroux, Jean-Francois, Gauthier, Gilles and Berteaux, Dominique 2008, Hoarding of pulsed resources : temporal variations in egg-caching by arctic fox, Ecoscience, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 268-276, doi: 10.2980/15-2-3097.

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Title Hoarding of pulsed resources : temporal variations in egg-caching by arctic fox
Author(s) Careau, Vincent
Lecomte, Nicolas
Bety, Joel
Giroux, Jean-Francois
Gauthier, Gilles
Berteaux, Dominique
Journal name Ecoscience
Volume number 15
Issue number 2
Start page 268
End page 276
Total pages 9
Publisher Universite Laval
Place of publication Sainte-Foy, Que.
Publication date 2008
ISSN 1195-6860
Keyword(s) arctic goose colony
food storing
lemming cycle
predator response
Summary Resource pulses are common in various ecosystems and often have large impacts on ecosystem functioning. Many animals hoard food during resource pulses, yet how this behaviour affects pulse diffusion through trophic levels is poorly known because of a lack of individual-based studies. Our objective was to examine how the hoarding behaviour of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) preying on a seasonal pulsed resource (goose eggs) was affected by annual and seasonal changes in resource availability. We monitored foraging behaviour of foxes in a greater snow goose (Chen caerulescens atlanticus) colony during 8 nesting seasons that covered 2 lemming cycles. The number of goose eggs taken and cached per hour by foxes declined 6-fold from laying to hatching, while the proportion of eggs cached remained constant. In contrast, the proportion of eggs cached by foxes fluctuated in response to the annual lemming cycle independently of the seasonal pulse of goose eggs. Foxes cached the majority of eggs taken (> 90%) when lemming abundance was high or moderate but only 40% during the low phase of the cycle. This likely occurred because foxes consumed a greater proportion of goose eggs to fulfill their energy requirement at low lemming abundance. Our study clearly illustrates a behavioural mechanism that extends the energetic benefits of a resource pulse. The hoarding behaviour of the main predator enhances the allochthonous nutrients input brought by migrating birds from the south into the arctic terrestrial ecosystem. This could increase average predator density and promote indirect interactions among prey.
Language eng
DOI 10.2980/15-2-3097
Field of Research 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, Universite Laval
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30056111

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.