The seasonal dynamics of artificial nest predation rates along edges in a mosaic managed reedbed

Malzer, I. and Helm, B. (2015) The seasonal dynamics of artificial nest predation rates along edges in a mosaic managed reedbed. PLoS ONE, 10(10), e0140247. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0140247) (PMID:26448338) (PMCID:PMC4598152)

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Boundaries between different habitats can be responsible for changes in species interactions, including modified rates of encounter between predators and prey. Such ‘edge effects’ have been reported in nesting birds, where nest predation rates can be increased at habitat edges. The literature concerning edge effects on nest predation rates reveals a wide variation in results, even within single habitats, suggesting edge effects are not fixed, but dynamic throughout space and time. This study demonstrates the importance of considering dynamic mechanisms underlying edge effects and their relevance when undertaking habitat management. In reedbed habitats, management in the form of mosaic winter reed cutting can create extensive edges which change rapidly with reed regrowth during spring. We investigate the seasonal dynamics of reedbed edges using an artificial nest experiment based on the breeding biology of a reedbed specialist. We first demonstrate that nest predation decreases with increasing distance from the edge of cut reed blocks, suggesting edge effects have a pivotal role in this system. Using repeats throughout the breeding season we then confirm that nest predation rates are temporally dynamic and decline with the regrowth of reed. However, effects of edges on nest predation were consistent throughout the season. These results are of practical importance when considering appropriate habitat management, suggesting that reed cutting may heighten nest predation, especially before new growth matures. They also contribute directly to an overall understanding of the dynamic processes underlying edge effects and their potential role as drivers of time-dependent habitat use.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Helm, Dr Barbara
Authors: Malzer, I., and Helm, B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Malzer, Helm
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 10(10):e0140247
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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