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  • 1 Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, c/ Darwin, 2. E-28049 Madrid, Spain
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Niche theory predicts that coexisting species will partition resources to limit the effects of interspecific competition. We examined microhabitat partitioning in six sets of steppe birds associated to agroecosystems in central Spain (female and male Great Bustards Otis tarda, female and male Little Bustards Tetrax tetrax, Red-legged Partridges Alectoris rufa and Eurasian Stone-curlews Burhinus oedicnemus) to estimate realized niche breadth, overlap and segregation. Principal Components Analysis on data from used and random microhabitat locations produced two axes we retained for analysis related with two key factors: cover-visibility and food availability. Non-parametric kernel density functions were calculated for each of the PCA axes and species (or sexes), and niche overlap estimated as the area shared between species’ density functions. Null models were run to evaluate overlap significance. In analyses of microhabitat selection by the six sets of birds, 13 out of 15 pairs had significant resource partitioning and niche segregation, except for the pairs partridge and female Great Bustard and the two sexes of Great Bustard. Eurasian Stone-curlew showed wider trophic niche breadth, although segregated from the other species, probably because of its higher invertebrate requirements. Great and Little Bustards segregated in both niche axes, selecting microhabitat according to their body size. Accessibility to food resources and shelter seems to be similar for partridges and female Great Bustards, overlapping in their selection, which may indicate the existence of segregation in other niche factors (e.g., feeding habits). Great Bustard males showed niche overlap with females. Little Bustard males showed feeding microhabitat selection patterns similar to those of females, although they preferred more open microhabitats to meet their sexual display requirements. The entire assemblage had significantly less overlap than expected by chance, suggesting that differential microhabitat selection and realized niche partitioning may explain coexistence in steppe bird communities. Our results suggest that the maintenance of different microhabitat structure should be a priority in the management of agricultural environments.

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Senior editors

Editor(s)-in-Chief: Podani, János

Editor(s)-in-Chief: Jordán, Ferenc

Honorary Editor(s): Orlóci, László

Editorial Board

  • Madhur Anand, CAN (forest ecology, computational ecology, and ecological complexity)
  • S. Bagella, ITA (temporal dynamics, including succession, community level patterns of species richness and diversity, experimental studies of plant, animal and microbial communities, plant communities of the Mediterranean)
  • P. Batáry, HUN (landscape ecology, agroecology, ecosystem services)
  • P. A. V. Borges, PRT (community level patterns of species richness and diversity, sampling in theory and practice)
  • A. Davis, GER (supervised learning, multitrophic interactions, food webs, multivariate analysis, ecological statistics, experimental design, fractals, parasitoids, species diversity, community assembly, ticks, biodiversity, climate change, biological networks, cranes, olfactometry, evolution)
  • Z. Elek, HUN (insect ecology, invertebrate conservation, population dynamics, especially of long-term field studies, insect sampling)
  • T. Kalapos, HUN (community level plant ecophysiology, grassland ecology, vegetation-soil relationship)
  • G. M. Kovács, HUN (microbial ecology, plant-fungus interactions, mycorrhizas)
  • W. C. Liu,TWN (community-based ecological theory and modelling issues, temporal dynamics, including succession, trophic interactions, competition, species response to the environment)
  • L. Mucina, AUS (vegetation survey, syntaxonomy, evolutionary community ecology, assembly rules, global vegetation patterns, mediterranean ecology)
  • P. Ódor, HUN (plant communities, bryophyte ecology, numerical methods)
  • F. Rigal, FRA (island biogeography, macroecology, functional diversity, arthropod ecology)
  • D. Rocchini, ITA (biodiversity, multiple scales, spatial scales, species distribution, spatial ecology, remote sensing, ecological informatics, computational ecology)
  • F. Samu, HUN (landscape ecology, biological control, generalist predators, spiders, arthropods, conservation biology, sampling methods)
  • U. Scharler, ZAF (ecological networks, food webs, estuaries, marine, mangroves, stoichiometry, temperate, subtropical)
  • D. Schmera, HUN (aquatic communities, functional diversity, ecological theory)
  • M. Scotti, GER (community-based ecological theory and modelling issues, trophic interactions, competition, species response to the environment, ecological networks)
  • B. Tóthmérész, HUN (biodiversity, soil zoology, spatial models, macroecology, ecological modeling)
  • S. Wollrab, GER (aquatic ecology, food web dynamics, plankton ecology, predator-prey interactions)

 

Advisory Board

  • S. Bartha, HUN
  • S.L. Collins, USA
  • T. Czárán, HUN
  • E. Feoli, ITA
  • N. Kenkel, CAN
  • J. Lepš, CZE
  • S. Mazzoleni, ITA
  • Cs. Moskát, HUN
  • B. Oborny, HUN
  • M.W. Palmer, USA
  • G.P. Patil, USA
  • V. de Patta Pillar, BRA
  • C. Ricotta, ITA
  • Á. Szentesi, HUN

PODANI, JÁNOS
E-mail: podani@ludens.elte.hu


JORDÁN, FERENC
E-mail: jordan.ferenc@gmail.com

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Community Ecology
Language English
Size A4
Year of
Foundation
2000
Volumes
per Year
1
Issues
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2
Founder Akadémiai Kiadó
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H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245
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Springer Nature Switzerland AG
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ISSN 1585-8553 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2756 (Online)