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Durant S.M.,UK Institute of Zoology | Durant S.M.,Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute | Durant S.M.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Craft M.M.,University of Glasgow | And 12 more authors.
Journal of Animal Ecology | Year: 2010

1. This study utilizes a unique data set covering over 19 000 georeferenced records of species presence collected between 1993 and 2008, to explore the distribution and habitat selectivity of an assemblage of 26 carnivore species in the Serengeti-Ngorongoro landscape in northern Tanzania. 2. Two species, the large-spotted genet and the bushy-tailed mongoose, were documented for the first time within this landscape. Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA) was used to examine habitat selectivity for 18 of the 26 carnivore species for which there is sufficient data. Eleven ecogeographical variables (EGVs), such as altitude and habitat type, were used for these analyses. 3. The ENFA demonstrated that species differed in their habitat selectivity, and supported the limited ecological information already available for these species, such as the golden jackals' preference for grassland and the leopards' preference for river valleys. 4. Two aggregate scores, marginality and tolerance, are generated by the ENFA, and describe each species' habitat selectivity in relation to the suite of EGVs. These scores were used to test the hypothesis that smaller species are expected to be more selective than larger species [Science, 1989, 243, 1145]. Two predictions were tested: Marginality should decrease with body mass; and tolerance should increase with body mass. Our study provided no evidence for either prediction. 5. Our results not only support previous analyses of carnivore diet breadth, but also represent a novel approach to the investigation of habitat selection across species assemblages. Our method provides a powerful tool to explore similar questions in other systems and for other taxa. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 British Ecological Society.

Shaw P.,University of St. Andrews | Sinclair A.R.E.,University of British Columbia | Metzger K.,University of British Columbia | Nkwabi A.,Serengeti Biodiversity Program | And 2 more authors.
African Journal of Ecology | Year: 2010

The underlying causes of change in geographic range size are less well understood in African birds than in north temperate species. Here, we examine factors associated with range expansion in the Karamoja apalis (Apalis karamojae), a globally Vulnerable warbler confined to north-east Uganda, north-central Tanzania and southern Kenya. In Tanzania, it was originally known only from the Wembere Steppe, but since 1993 (and possibly as early as 1983) has extended its range into the Serengeti ecosystem, c. 140 km to the north, reaching southern Kenya by 2004. Changes in the warbler's range within the Serengeti have broadly reflected a cyclical change in the density of its main habitat, Acacia drepanolobium woodland, which was low in the 1970s, high during the 1980s and 1990s, and declined in the early 2000s. Karamoja apalis records in the Serengeti showed a 5 year time lag behind A. drepanolobium density, which was in turn negatively correlated with the area of grassland burnt 10 years earlier. Previous studies in the Serengeti have also linked Acacia regeneration to changes in grazing pressure, as increasing wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) numbers have reduced the volume of combustible material present, and hence the frequency of damaging 'hot burns'. We conclude that this globally threatened warbler appears to have benefited from changes in ungulate populations in the Serengeti, which have influenced burning intensity and hence tree regeneration. The warbler's range now appears to be declining, however, following a recent reduction in the density and annual survival of A. drepanolobium in the northern Serengeti. © 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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