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University of Oxford (2008)

Competition and niche separation between corsac and red foxes in Mongolia.

Murdoch, J. D.

Titre : Competition and niche separation between corsac and red foxes in Mongolia.

Auteur : Murdoch, J. D.

Université de soutenance  : University of Oxford

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2008

Résumé
I studied two wide-ranging carnivores, the corsac fox (Vulpes corsac) and red fox (Vulpes vulpes), which occur sympatrically across northern and central Asia, to address the question of whether competition occurs between them and the extent to which niche partitioning may facilitate their coexistence. I conducted the study in the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve of Mongolia in a region that characterizes the arid environments of northern and central Asia. I described and compared fox biotopes, and estimated survival and mortality of a radio-marked population to evaluate interference competition. I also quantified and compared major niche axes between species, including their use of food, time, and habitat resources to examine niche separation and the potential for exploitation competition.

The study provides among the first quantitative details of corsac and red fox biology in Asia, as well as insight into the nature of competition and coexistence between wide-ranging carnivores. The study also provides information that may be directly applied to the conservation of corsac and red foxes, both of which have experienced declines in Mongolia. The study provided a baseline measure of the biological requirements of foxes useful for conservation planning, and revealed that Ikh Nart�s game ranger program was ineffective at reducing fox mortality from poaching. Specific recommendations include targeted ranger patrols on Siberian marmot (Marmota sibirica) colonies and extending the reserve and its core protected zone to include greater proportions of steppe habitats and rocky outcrops. I also recommend modifying the current management regime, which focuses on argali sheep (Ovis ammon) as an umbrella species, to include multiple species.

Présentation (ProQuest)

Page publiée le 29 mai 2021