Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Influence of hybridization on coyote range expansion

Ellington, E. H., & Murray, D. L. (2015). Influence of hybridization on animal space use: a case study using coyote range expansion. Oikos.

Hybridization between animal species is likely to increase as distributional and reproductive barriers continue to break down due to anthropogenically driven changes in habitat and climate. Yet, the influence of hybridization on ecological interactions and ecosystem function remains understudied. Animal space use, an important component of ecosystem dynamics, is a complex relationship between intrinsic factors, which hybridization can influence, and extrinsic factors, such as environmental heterogeneity. Using the coyote Canis latrans, a well-studied species with a long history of hybridization with wolves and dogs Canis spp., we sought to assess the influence of hybridization relative to environmental factors in determining animal space use. We conducted a meta-regression analysis of 67 datasets on coyote home range size across North America and generated models to predict coyote home range size. Climate (latitude) and environmental variability played important roles in determining patterns of coyote space use, likely through their influence on availability of prey resources. However, we found hybridization to be the preeminent factor driving variation in coyote space use, with non-introgressed populations having considerably smaller home ranges than those from within the Canis hybrid zone of eastern North America. This pattern was upheld despite the variation in environmental factors between areas inside and outside the Canis hybrid zone. Our findings suggest that hybridization may serve as an important factor affecting ecosystems, as hybrids may have altered space requirements, and presumably different niche dimensions, compared to parental species. This, in turn, may influence the role that particular species play within communities.

See more about wild canid hybridisation with dogs

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