Multi-scale asynchrony and spatial structuring of mesopredator abundance trends in central Texas, 1978-2003
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Trends in mesopredator abundance were examined at the regional, county, and local level in central Texas, 1978-2003, using data collected during annual spotlight surveys conducted by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists. At the regional level, only raccoon (Procyon lotor) and gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) abundance exhibited significant trends. However, at the county and local level, ringtail (Bassariscus astutus), Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana), and skunks (Mephitis mephitis and Conepatus mesoleucus) also exhibited significant trends in abundance. Further, for all species except raccoon, direction of the trend varied among counties and survey routes, and among spatial scales. Results suggest that spatial asynchrony in mesopredator abundance trends may cause smaller-scale dynamics to be masked at broader scales. This could hide ecologically important effects. Thus, where sufficient data are available, abundance of mesopredator and their effects on other components of the ecosystem should be monitored and evaluated at multiple spatial scales.
author list (cited authors)
Schwertner, T. W., Peterson, M. J., & Silvy, N. J.