Interference competition and temporal niche shifts: elephants and herbivore communities at waterholes

Valeix Marion, Chamaille-Jammes Simon, Fritz Hervé. 2007. Interference competition and temporal niche shifts: elephants and herbivore communities at waterholes. Oecologia, 153 (3) : pp. 739-748.

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Thème(s) HCERES des revues (en SHS) : Psychologie-éthologie-ergonomie

Abstract : Scarcity of resources may result in high levels of animal aggregation; interference competition can occur in such a scenario and play a role in resource acquisition. Here, we test the hypothesis that animals could minimize interference competition by shifting their temporal niches in relation to competitors. In Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, we monitored waterholes in order to study agonistic interactions between elephants and other herbivore species. We also used a long-term data set from a yearly survey of waterhole attendance by herbivores to evaluate the influence of the presence of elephants on the use of waterholes by other herbivore species. Our results show that in drier years, waterholes are crowded with elephants early in the afternoon. In general, the species most affected by interference competition with elephants shift their temporal niches at the waterholes, thus maintaining a constant temporal overlaps with elephants. The species less affected by interference competition with elephants show no temporal niche shifts and increase their temporal overlap with elephants at waterholes, as predicted from a noncompetition hypothesis. This study provides evidence that interference competition with a behaviorally dominant large species influences the temporal niches of smaller species, and suggests that the potential costs associated with interference between elephants and other herbivores at waterholes are linked to shifts in diurnal activities rather than interactions and water acquisition itself. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Herbivore

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Zimbabwe

Classification Agris : L20 - Animal ecology

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 6 (2005-2013) - Agriculture, environnement, nature et sociétés

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Valeix Marion, CIRAD-EMVT-UPR Faune sauvage (ZWE)
  • Chamaille-Jammes Simon, CIRAD-EMVT-UPR Faune sauvage (FRA)
  • Fritz Hervé, CNRS (FRA)

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