Seasonal, geographical, and habitat effects on the diet of a recovering predator population: the European pine marten (Martes martes) in Ireland

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Abstract

Human activity is increasingly altering the natural world. Yet the natural adaptability of most mammal species remains unknown. Seasonal and spatial influences on the diet of temperate carnivores tending towards omnivory are, particularly, poorly understood. The pine marten is one such species which in Ireland and Britain is of additional interest due to the recent recovery in its range and abundance from near collapse. We investigated diet of the pine marten on regional, national, and continental scales and with regard to seasonal and habitat variation. Habitat effects on diet were examined with regard to samples from deciduous woodland, coniferous forestry plantations, heath-coniferous matrices, and mixed habitats. Finally, we discuss the implications of dietary variation in the ecological role of the European pine marten in Ireland and elsewhere and consider how these may be affected by further environmental change. The diet of the pine marten differed significantly amongst all studies across its range, although it maintains the same approximate trophic niche breadth throughout. This plasticity may explain its recovery in an environment where resources are scarce, and underscores its status as an opportunistic species which is likely to be robust to environmental and habitat changes in the future.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEUROPEAN JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE RESEARCH
Volume65
Issue number51
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2019

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Martes martes
Martes
Ireland
Pinus
predator
diet
predators
habitat
habitats
omnivory
plantation forestry
niche breadth
omnivores
carnivore
carnivores
United Kingdom
plasticity
woodlands
woodland
environmental change

Cite this

@article{dc3e92125b8d4ec08d2bdf698a9dc8d0,
title = "Seasonal, geographical, and habitat effects on the diet of a recovering predator population: the European pine marten (Martes martes) in Ireland",
abstract = "Human activity is increasingly altering the natural world. Yet the natural adaptability of most mammal species remains unknown. Seasonal and spatial influences on the diet of temperate carnivores tending towards omnivory are, particularly, poorly understood. The pine marten is one such species which in Ireland and Britain is of additional interest due to the recent recovery in its range and abundance from near collapse. We investigated diet of the pine marten on regional, national, and continental scales and with regard to seasonal and habitat variation. Habitat effects on diet were examined with regard to samples from deciduous woodland, coniferous forestry plantations, heath-coniferous matrices, and mixed habitats. Finally, we discuss the implications of dietary variation in the ecological role of the European pine marten in Ireland and elsewhere and consider how these may be affected by further environmental change. The diet of the pine marten differed significantly amongst all studies across its range, although it maintains the same approximate trophic niche breadth throughout. This plasticity may explain its recovery in an environment where resources are scarce, and underscores its status as an opportunistic species which is likely to be robust to environmental and habitat changes in the future.",
author = "Joshua Twining and William Montgomery and Victoria Fitzpatrick and Nicola Marks and David Scantlebury and David Tosh",
year = "2019",
month = "5",
day = "31",
doi = "10.1007/s10344-019-1289-z",
language = "English",
volume = "65",
journal = "EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE RESEARCH",
issn = "1612-4642",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",
number = "51",

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Seasonal, geographical, and habitat effects on the diet of a recovering predator population: the European pine marten (Martes martes) in Ireland

AU - Twining, Joshua

AU - Montgomery, William

AU - Fitzpatrick, Victoria

AU - Marks, Nicola

AU - Scantlebury, David

AU - Tosh, David

PY - 2019/5/31

Y1 - 2019/5/31

N2 - Human activity is increasingly altering the natural world. Yet the natural adaptability of most mammal species remains unknown. Seasonal and spatial influences on the diet of temperate carnivores tending towards omnivory are, particularly, poorly understood. The pine marten is one such species which in Ireland and Britain is of additional interest due to the recent recovery in its range and abundance from near collapse. We investigated diet of the pine marten on regional, national, and continental scales and with regard to seasonal and habitat variation. Habitat effects on diet were examined with regard to samples from deciduous woodland, coniferous forestry plantations, heath-coniferous matrices, and mixed habitats. Finally, we discuss the implications of dietary variation in the ecological role of the European pine marten in Ireland and elsewhere and consider how these may be affected by further environmental change. The diet of the pine marten differed significantly amongst all studies across its range, although it maintains the same approximate trophic niche breadth throughout. This plasticity may explain its recovery in an environment where resources are scarce, and underscores its status as an opportunistic species which is likely to be robust to environmental and habitat changes in the future.

AB - Human activity is increasingly altering the natural world. Yet the natural adaptability of most mammal species remains unknown. Seasonal and spatial influences on the diet of temperate carnivores tending towards omnivory are, particularly, poorly understood. The pine marten is one such species which in Ireland and Britain is of additional interest due to the recent recovery in its range and abundance from near collapse. We investigated diet of the pine marten on regional, national, and continental scales and with regard to seasonal and habitat variation. Habitat effects on diet were examined with regard to samples from deciduous woodland, coniferous forestry plantations, heath-coniferous matrices, and mixed habitats. Finally, we discuss the implications of dietary variation in the ecological role of the European pine marten in Ireland and elsewhere and consider how these may be affected by further environmental change. The diet of the pine marten differed significantly amongst all studies across its range, although it maintains the same approximate trophic niche breadth throughout. This plasticity may explain its recovery in an environment where resources are scarce, and underscores its status as an opportunistic species which is likely to be robust to environmental and habitat changes in the future.

U2 - 10.1007/s10344-019-1289-z

DO - 10.1007/s10344-019-1289-z

M3 - Article

VL - 65

JO - EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE RESEARCH

JF - EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE RESEARCH

SN - 1612-4642

IS - 51

ER -