Resource Partitioning between Generalist Competitors & Factors Affecting the Detectability of Scat by Dogs
Type of Degreethesis
Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
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Syntopic generalist competitors like Procyon lotor and Didelphis virginiana must partition resources in order to coexist. Our study examined spatial and temporal resource partitioning using occupancy modeling to account for within-species selection for resource attributes. The presence of a competitor had a non-significant positive effect on the use of spatial and temporal resources by raccoons and opossums, indicating that resource use is independent of competitor presence. However, raccoons and opossums were never photographed together indicating they avoid direct confrontations. Scat and its unique scent degrade over time. The ability of trained dogs to locate the scat by smell can be affected by the size, amount of rainfall, age, and location of the scat. Scat samples are less likely to be detected as they age, receive greater amounts of rainfall and decrease in size. Scat in pine is most likely to be detected, then hardwood, then clear-cut habitat types. Unequal probabilities of scat detection should be accounted for in studies using this method.