10 Feb

Pumas engineer their environment, providing habitat for other species

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored A new study finds that mountain lions in the western United States change their surroundings and as a result are “ecosystem engineers.”A team of scientists tracked 18 lion kills in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Wyoming and identified 215 species of beetles living in, on and off the carcasses — that is, the kills provided habitat as well as food for scavengers.The work demonstrates the critical role mountain lions play in providing resources to other species in the ecosystems in which they live. New research suggests that mountain lions in the western United States play an outsize role in changing their surroundings, leading the authors of the study to suggest that the big cats are “ecosystem engineers.”In a study published online Nov. 30 in the journal Oecologia, biologist Mark Elbroch and his colleagues demonstrate that the assortment of animals that profit from the free meals provided by the kills of mountain lions (Puma concolor) ranges from birds and mammals to insects and other invertebrates.The researchers found that 113 of the 215 species collected from mountain lion kill sites were carrion-dependent. Image by Josh Barry/Panthera.When the team tracked 18 lion kills in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Wyoming, they found that the dispatched prey, such as deer and elk, supported 215 species of beetles. But Elbroch, who directs the puma program for Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, realized that the beetles and other scavengers weren’t just following a buffet.“They’re communing. They’re finding their mates on these carcasses,” he said in an interview. “They’re living their entire lives from larvae to adult form on a carcass and then launching forth into the world in search of another carcass to begin that cycle all over again.”In other words, these carcasses provide habitat for the beetles and countless other organisms observed, Elbroch said.Mountain lions play vital roles in the complex functioning of their ecosystems. Image courtesy of WildFutures.Scientists know that some animals have a profound effect on their environment, often changing it in ways that free up resources for other species in the ecosystem. These ecosystem engineers typically function as the bulldozers and earthmovers of the natural world: Think of elephants excavating waterholes that then slake the thirst of other animals, or beavers constructing dams to form ponds that ultimately house a wide range of fish. Mountain lions, Elbroch’s team has shown, manipulate their environment in their own unique way.Their previous research has helped crystallize the importance of mountain lion kills to the myriad other species in the system. It revealed that the larger chunks of elk meat that pumas abandon, for example, are more important to a wider variety of species than, say, the smaller bits that a wolf pack might leave behind. In a December 2017 study published in Biological Conservation, they found that 39 species of birds and mammals visit puma kills — more scavenger species than had ever been recorded around a carcass.Prior research from members of the team found that mountain lion kills attracted 39 species of birds and mammals. Claw marks here indicated the presence of a grizzly bear. Image by Josh Barry/Panthera.Elbroch said mountain lions had evolved to kill more prey meat than they needed for feeding. As solitary hunters, they often can’t finish a 225-kilogram (500-pound) elk in one sitting. And they’re frequently forced to relinquish their prey to more formidable predators such as bears and wolves. That makes them what biologists call “subordinate apex predators.”“They’ve evolved to survive in a world where they’re not the top predator,” Elbroch said. “The fact that they kill more than they need is benefiting their ecological communities in startling and amazing ways.”His repeat visits to the kill sites of the big cats he tracks — an essential part of the work of a wildlife biologist who studies predators — led him to wonder how deep into the ecological web the effect of that carrion penetrated. He noticed that the birds and animals weren’t just at the carcass for the meat. Small birds would be darting around above the carcasses “picking off flying insects,” he said, and vultures would revel in the cornucopia of maggots starting their lives inside the dead animal.A researcher sets up insect traps near a kill site. Image by Josh Barry/Panthera.“We have bears doing the same thing,” Elbroch said. “They come in and just hoover up these writhing masses of insect larvae.”So Elbroch and his fellow researchers set up insect traps around the kills they were studying, along with a set of controls farther away, and checked them every week for several months. Among the more than 24,000 beetles from 215 species they found, 113 species need carrion to survive. And they found that the number of species, as well as of individuals, was higher around the carcasses, particularly in the first eight weeks after the kill.“This is habitat. This is not just food resource,” Elbroch said. “It’s more than that.”He said he also believed this subordinate part played by pumas in the American West was a widespread phenomenon. In their Biological Conservation study, he and his colleagues suggest that six other cats, including the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) on Africa’s savannas and the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) in the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra, fill similar roles, collectively covering around 43 percent of the Earth’s surface outside Antarctica.These cats also share a history of threats from humans. They’re often scapegoated as killers of livestock. Many also inhabit a fraction of their former ranges, and the IUCN lists them all as vulnerable, except for the puma, with its listing of least concern. The Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi), a subspecies of the mountain lion, is protected as an endangered species by the U.S. government.A mountain lion caught on a camera trap. Image by Mark Elbroch/Panthera.That’s all the more reason to demonstrate the animals’ vital place in the ecosystem, Elbroch said. Right now, he is working with a group of scientists based at Washington State University to explore the effects of puma-killed carrion on the soil chemistry of a landscape.The team suspects that the kills of mountain lions are a critical resource, not just for scavenging mammals and birdlife, or even the invertebrates that take up residence in them, but for the plant life that anchors the ecosystem.If their hypothesis holds, “we will have tied vertebrate scavengers, invertebrate scavengers, soil and plant communities all to these kill sites,” Elbroch said. “That would be amazing.”Banner image of a puma by Mark Elbroch/Panthera. John Cannon is a Mongabay staff writer based in the Middle East. Find him on Twitter: @johnccannonCitations Barry, J. M., Elbroch, L. M., Aiello-Lammens, M. E., Sarno, R. J., Seelye, L., Kusler, A., … & Grigione, M. M. (2018). Pumas as ecosystem engineers: ungulate carcasses support beetle assemblages in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Oecologia, 1-10.Elbroch, L. M., O’Malley, C., Peziol, M., & Quigley, H. B. (2017). Vertebrate diversity benefiting from carrion provided by pumas and other subordinate, apex felids. Biological Conservation, 215, 123-131.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by John Cannoncenter_img Animal Behavior, Animals, Big Cats, Biodiversity, Camera Trapping, Cats, Conservation, Ecology, Ecosystem Engineers, Endangered Species, Environment, Forests, Habitat Loss, Human-wildlife Conflict, Hunting, Leopards, Livestock, Mammals, Megafauna, Predators, Ranching, Research, Scavengers, Snow Leopards, Temperate Forests, Top Predators, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation last_img

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