Effects of food supplementation and helminth removal on space use and spatial overlap in wild rodent populations

Janine Mistrick, Jasmine S.M. Veitch, Shannon M. Kitchen, Samuel Clague, Brent C. Newman, Richard J. Hall, Sarah A. Budischak, Kristian M. Forbes, Meggan E. Craft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Animal space use and spatial overlap can have important consequences for population-level processes such as social interactions and pathogen transmission. Identifying how environmental variability and inter-individual variation affect spatial patterns and in turn influence interactions in animal populations is a priority for the study of animal behaviour and disease ecology. Environmental food availability and macroparasite infection are common drivers of variation, but there are few experimental studies investigating how they affect spatial patterns of wildlife. Bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) are a tractable study system to investigate spatial patterns of wildlife and are amenable to experimental manipulations. We conducted a replicated, factorial field experiment in which we provided supplementary food and removed helminths in vole populations in natural forest habitat and monitored vole space use and spatial overlap using capture–mark–recapture methods. Using network analysis, we quantified vole space use and spatial overlap. We compared the effects of food supplementation and helminth removal and investigated the impacts of season, sex and reproductive status on space use and spatial overlap. We found that food supplementation decreased vole space use while helminth removal increased space use. Space use also varied by sex, reproductive status and season. Spatial overlap was similar between treatments despite up to threefold differences in population size. By quantifying the spatial effects of food availability and macroparasite infection on wildlife populations, we demonstrate the potential for space use and population density to trade-off and maintain consistent spatial overlap in wildlife populations. This has important implications for spatial processes in wildlife including pathogen transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-754
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Volume93
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ecological Society.

Keywords

  • Clethrionomys glareolus
  • anthelmintic treatment
  • bank vole
  • food supplementation
  • network analysis
  • space use
  • spatial overlap

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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