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Temporal refuges differ between human and natural top-down pressures in a subordinate carnivore
  • Rumaan Malhotra,
  • Samantha Lima,
  • Nyeema Harris
Rumaan Malhotra
University of Michigan

Corresponding Author:rumaanm@umich.edu

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Samantha Lima
Purdue University
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Nyeema Harris
Yale University
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Abstract

Animals exhibit variation in their space and time use across an urban-rural gradient. As the top-down influences of apex predators wane due to human-driven declines, landscape level anthropogenic pressures are rising. Human impacts can be analogous to apex predators in that humans can drive increased mortality in both prey species and carnivores, and impact communities through indirect fear effects and food subsidies. Here, we evaluate the time use of a common mesocarnivore across an urban rural gradient, and test whether it is influenced by the intensity of use of a larger carnivore. Using multiple camera-trap surveys, we compared the temporal response of a small carnivore, the raccoon (Procyon lotor), to the larger coyote (Canis latrans) at four sites across Michigan that represented a gradient of pressure from humans. We found that raccoon time use varied by site and was most unique at the rural extreme. Raccoons consistently did not shift their activity pattern in response to coyotes at the site with the highest anthropogenic pressures despite considerable interannual variation, and instead showed the stronger responses to coyotes at more rural sites. Temporal shifts were characterized by raccoons being more diurnal in areas of high coyote activity. We conclude that raccoons do partition time to avoid coyotes. Our results highlight that the variation in raccoon time use across the entirety of the urban-rural gradient needed to be considered, as anthropogenic pressures may dominate and obscure the dynamics of this interaction. In an increasingly anthropocentric world, to understand species interactions, it is imperative that we consider the entire spectrum of human pressures that it may occur within.
20 Oct 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
21 Oct 2021Submission Checks Completed
21 Oct 2021Assigned to Editor
12 Nov 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
28 Mar 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
28 Mar 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
01 Jul 20221st Revision Received
02 Jul 2022Submission Checks Completed
02 Jul 2022Assigned to Editor
02 Jul 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
06 Jul 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
19 Jul 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
24 Aug 20222nd Revision Received
25 Aug 2022Submission Checks Completed
25 Aug 2022Assigned to Editor
25 Aug 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
26 Aug 2022Editorial Decision: Accept