Determinants of predator abundance in northern KwaZulu-Natal: top-down or bottom-up?

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Balme, Guy A en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisor O'Riain, Justin en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Woodgate, Zoe Anne en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2015-05-28T12:31:52Z
dc.date.available 2015-05-28T12:31:52Z
dc.date.issued 2014 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Woodgate, Z. 2014. Determinants of predator abundance in northern KwaZulu-Natal: top-down or bottom-up?. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/13032
dc.description Includes bibliographical references. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract As protected areas ultimately aim to successfully conserve natural predator populations, an understanding of the non-anthropogenic drivers of their population change is critical. Both bottom-up (e.g. food limitation, competition) and top-down (e.g. predation, interference) processes play an important role in structuring predator guilds, yet there is a poor understanding of their relative importance. Here, I investigated whether the relative abundance of mesopredators, facultative scavengers, and an apex predator were affected primarily by bottom-up processes (prey abundance) or by top-down processes (predator abundance), or a combination of the two. Central to this study was elucidating the complex relationship between mesopredators and apex predators. Caracal (Caracal caracal), blackbacked jackal (Canis mesomelas), sidestriped jackal (Canis adustus), honey badger (Mellivora capensis) and serval (Leptailurus serval) were classed together as Mesopredators. Facultative scavengers included two hyaena species (spotted Crocuta crocuta and brownhyaena Hyaena brunnea). Leopards (Panthera pardus) were included as an example of an apex predator. Data was obtained from camera-trap surveys conducted in four protected areas located in northern KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). Results of both a nested analysis of variance and generalised linear mixed models revealed that there was no mesopredator suppression present in protected areas with complete predator guild. In addition, prey and similarly sized predator relative abundance indices (RAIs) had a significant positive effect on mesopredator, hyaena and leopard RAI. The findings suggest that bottom-up drivers are more important than top-down processes in determining the relative abundance of mammalian predators in these protected areas. My study highlights the importance of monitoring prey populations in a protected area when attempting to successfully manage mammalian predator trophic guilds. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Biological Sciences en_ZA
dc.title Determinants of predator abundance in northern KwaZulu-Natal: top-down or bottom-up? en_ZA
dc.type Bachelor Thesis
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Science en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Biological Sciences en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Honours
dc.type.qualificationname BSc (Hons) en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Woodgate, Z. A. (2014). <i>Determinants of predator abundance in northern KwaZulu-Natal: top-down or bottom-up?</i>. (Thesis). University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Science ,Department of Biological Sciences. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/11427/13032 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Woodgate, Zoe Anne. <i>"Determinants of predator abundance in northern KwaZulu-Natal: top-down or bottom-up?."</i> Thesis., University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Science ,Department of Biological Sciences, 2014. http://hdl.handle.net/11427/13032 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Woodgate ZA. Determinants of predator abundance in northern KwaZulu-Natal: top-down or bottom-up?. [Thesis]. University of Cape Town ,Faculty of Science ,Department of Biological Sciences, 2014 [cited yyyy month dd]. Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/11427/13032 en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Thesis / Dissertation AU - Woodgate, Zoe Anne AB - As protected areas ultimately aim to successfully conserve natural predator populations, an understanding of the non-anthropogenic drivers of their population change is critical. Both bottom-up (e.g. food limitation, competition) and top-down (e.g. predation, interference) processes play an important role in structuring predator guilds, yet there is a poor understanding of their relative importance. Here, I investigated whether the relative abundance of mesopredators, facultative scavengers, and an apex predator were affected primarily by bottom-up processes (prey abundance) or by top-down processes (predator abundance), or a combination of the two. Central to this study was elucidating the complex relationship between mesopredators and apex predators. Caracal (Caracal caracal), blackbacked jackal (Canis mesomelas), sidestriped jackal (Canis adustus), honey badger (Mellivora capensis) and serval (Leptailurus serval) were classed together as Mesopredators. Facultative scavengers included two hyaena species (spotted Crocuta crocuta and brownhyaena Hyaena brunnea). Leopards (Panthera pardus) were included as an example of an apex predator. Data was obtained from camera-trap surveys conducted in four protected areas located in northern KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). Results of both a nested analysis of variance and generalised linear mixed models revealed that there was no mesopredator suppression present in protected areas with complete predator guild. In addition, prey and similarly sized predator relative abundance indices (RAIs) had a significant positive effect on mesopredator, hyaena and leopard RAI. The findings suggest that bottom-up drivers are more important than top-down processes in determining the relative abundance of mammalian predators in these protected areas. My study highlights the importance of monitoring prey populations in a protected area when attempting to successfully manage mammalian predator trophic guilds. DA - 2014 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 2014 T1 - Determinants of predator abundance in northern KwaZulu-Natal: top-down or bottom-up? TI - Determinants of predator abundance in northern KwaZulu-Natal: top-down or bottom-up? UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/13032 ER - en_ZA


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