Dietary niche overlap of free-roaming dingoes and domestic dogs: the role of human provided food

Newsome, Thomas M, Ballard, Guy- Anthony, Crowther, Mathew S, Fleming, Peter J S and Dickman, Christopher R 2014, Dietary niche overlap of free-roaming dingoes and domestic dogs: the role of human provided food, Journal of mammalogy, vol. 95, no. 2, pp. 392-403, doi: 10.1644/13-MAMM-A-145.1.

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Title Dietary niche overlap of free-roaming dingoes and domestic dogs: the role of human provided food
Author(s) Newsome, Thomas MORCID iD for Newsome, Thomas M
Ballard, Guy- Anthony
Crowther, Mathew S
Fleming, Peter J S
Dickman, Christopher R
Journal name Journal of mammalogy
Volume number 95
Issue number 2
Start page 392
End page 403
Total pages 12
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, Eng.
Publication date 2014
ISSN 1545-1542
Keyword(s) diet
dietary breadth
human subsidies
top-order predator
Summary As both companion animals and opportunistic predators, dogs (Canis lupus spp.) have had a long and complex relationship with humans. In Australia, the dingo (C. l. dingo) was introduced 4,000 years ago and, other than humans, is now the continent's top mammalian predator. Domestic dogs (C. l. familiaris) were introduced by Europeans more recently and they interbreed with dingoes. This hybridization has caused growing concern about the roles that domestic dogs and dingoes play in shaping ecosystem processes. There is also considerable debate about whether anthropogenic environmental changes can alter the ecological roles of dingoes. We used scat analysis to test whether the dingo, as the longer-established predator, occupies a different dietary niche from that of free-roaming domestic dogs, irrespective of human influence. Our results demonstrate considerable dietary overlap between dingoes and domestic dogs in areas where humans provide supplementary food, providing evidence against our hypothesis. However, the consumption by dingoes of a greater diversity of prey, in association with historical differences in the interactions between dingoes and humans, suggests a partial separation of their dietary niche from that of domestic dogs. We conclude that anthropogenic changes in resource availability could prevent dingoes from fulfilling their trophic regulatory or pre-European roles. Effective management of human-provided food is therefore required urgently to minimize the potential for subsidized populations of dingoes and domestic dogs to negatively affect co-occurring prey.
Language eng
DOI 10.1644/13-MAMM-A-145.1
Field of Research 060806 Animal Physiological Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, Oxford University Press
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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