Avifaunal disarray due to a single despotic species

Martine Maron, Merilyn J. Grey, Carla P. Catterall, Richard E. Major, Damon L. Oliver, Michael F. Clarke, Richard H. Loyn, Ralph MAC NALLY, Ian Davidson, Jim THOMSON

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Aim Reports of profound changes in species assemblages brought about by the influence of strongly interacting species are increasingly common. Where these strong interactors are sensitive to anthropogenic habitat changes, relatively small alterations in the environment can result in large and pervasive shifts in assemblages. We review the evidence for widespread assemblage-level phase shifts across eastern Australia, triggered partly by anthropogenic habitat alteration and mediated by a native, despotic bird: the noisy miner Manorina melanocephala. Location Eastern Australia. Methods Based on the literature, we developed conceptual models of factors affecting site occupancy by, and ecosystem-level effects of, the noisy miner. We also analysed recent trends in the reporting rate of the noisy miner across its range. Results Individuals of this species cooperate to aggressively exclude almost all smaller bird species from the areas they occupy. The noisy miner is advantaged by habitat fragmentation and structural simplification—habitat changes that facilitate detection and interception of potential competitors by miners. We report that the species is increasingly prevalent, particularly close to forest and woodland edges. Such edges have mainly been created by human land use. The evidence we reviewed showed: (1) strong causal links between the noisy miner and depressed richness and abundance of smaller birds, particularly nectarivores and insectivores; (2) moderate evidence of a positive association with larger bird species; (3) reduced tree condition stemming from impaired control of insect herbivore populations by smaller insectivores; and (4) a plausible negative effect on plant reproduction through reduced tree condition, altered pollination services and altered seed dispersal. Main conclusions This is the first synthesis to document the causes and likely ecological consequences of increasingly prevalent phase shifts catalysed by a despotic species on ecosystems at very large spatial scales (> 1 million km2). Native species affected by human activities can become agents that induce ecological dysfunction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1468-1479
Number of pages12
JournalDiversity and Distributions
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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insectivores
birds
insectivore
nectar feeding
plant reproduction
ecosystems
insect control
bird
habitats
seed dispersal
habitat fragmentation
ecosystem
anthropogenic activities
woodlands
habitat
pollination
environmental impact
interception
indigenous species
herbivores

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Maron, M., Grey, M. J., Catterall, C. P., Major, R. E., Oliver, D. L., Clarke, M. F., ... THOMSON, J. (2013). Avifaunal disarray due to a single despotic species. Diversity and Distributions, 19, 1468-1479. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12128
Maron, Martine ; Grey, Merilyn J. ; Catterall, Carla P. ; Major, Richard E. ; Oliver, Damon L. ; Clarke, Michael F. ; Loyn, Richard H. ; MAC NALLY, Ralph ; Davidson, Ian ; THOMSON, Jim. / Avifaunal disarray due to a single despotic species. In: Diversity and Distributions. 2013 ; Vol. 19. pp. 1468-1479.
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abstract = "Aim Reports of profound changes in species assemblages brought about by the influence of strongly interacting species are increasingly common. Where these strong interactors are sensitive to anthropogenic habitat changes, relatively small alterations in the environment can result in large and pervasive shifts in assemblages. We review the evidence for widespread assemblage-level phase shifts across eastern Australia, triggered partly by anthropogenic habitat alteration and mediated by a native, despotic bird: the noisy miner Manorina melanocephala. Location Eastern Australia. Methods Based on the literature, we developed conceptual models of factors affecting site occupancy by, and ecosystem-level effects of, the noisy miner. We also analysed recent trends in the reporting rate of the noisy miner across its range. Results Individuals of this species cooperate to aggressively exclude almost all smaller bird species from the areas they occupy. The noisy miner is advantaged by habitat fragmentation and structural simplification—habitat changes that facilitate detection and interception of potential competitors by miners. We report that the species is increasingly prevalent, particularly close to forest and woodland edges. Such edges have mainly been created by human land use. The evidence we reviewed showed: (1) strong causal links between the noisy miner and depressed richness and abundance of smaller birds, particularly nectarivores and insectivores; (2) moderate evidence of a positive association with larger bird species; (3) reduced tree condition stemming from impaired control of insect herbivore populations by smaller insectivores; and (4) a plausible negative effect on plant reproduction through reduced tree condition, altered pollination services and altered seed dispersal. Main conclusions This is the first synthesis to document the causes and likely ecological consequences of increasingly prevalent phase shifts catalysed by a despotic species on ecosystems at very large spatial scales (> 1 million km2). Native species affected by human activities can become agents that induce ecological dysfunction.",
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author = "Martine Maron and Grey, {Merilyn J.} and Catterall, {Carla P.} and Major, {Richard E.} and Oliver, {Damon L.} and Clarke, {Michael F.} and Loyn, {Richard H.} and {MAC NALLY}, Ralph and Ian Davidson and Jim THOMSON",
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Maron, M, Grey, MJ, Catterall, CP, Major, RE, Oliver, DL, Clarke, MF, Loyn, RH, MAC NALLY, R, Davidson, I & THOMSON, J 2013, 'Avifaunal disarray due to a single despotic species', Diversity and Distributions, vol. 19, pp. 1468-1479. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12128

Avifaunal disarray due to a single despotic species. / Maron, Martine; Grey, Merilyn J.; Catterall, Carla P.; Major, Richard E.; Oliver, Damon L.; Clarke, Michael F.; Loyn, Richard H.; MAC NALLY, Ralph; Davidson, Ian; THOMSON, Jim.

In: Diversity and Distributions, Vol. 19, 2013, p. 1468-1479.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Avifaunal disarray due to a single despotic species

AU - Maron, Martine

AU - Grey, Merilyn J.

AU - Catterall, Carla P.

AU - Major, Richard E.

AU - Oliver, Damon L.

AU - Clarke, Michael F.

AU - Loyn, Richard H.

AU - MAC NALLY, Ralph

AU - Davidson, Ian

AU - THOMSON, Jim

PY - 2013

Y1 - 2013

N2 - Aim Reports of profound changes in species assemblages brought about by the influence of strongly interacting species are increasingly common. Where these strong interactors are sensitive to anthropogenic habitat changes, relatively small alterations in the environment can result in large and pervasive shifts in assemblages. We review the evidence for widespread assemblage-level phase shifts across eastern Australia, triggered partly by anthropogenic habitat alteration and mediated by a native, despotic bird: the noisy miner Manorina melanocephala. Location Eastern Australia. Methods Based on the literature, we developed conceptual models of factors affecting site occupancy by, and ecosystem-level effects of, the noisy miner. We also analysed recent trends in the reporting rate of the noisy miner across its range. Results Individuals of this species cooperate to aggressively exclude almost all smaller bird species from the areas they occupy. The noisy miner is advantaged by habitat fragmentation and structural simplification—habitat changes that facilitate detection and interception of potential competitors by miners. We report that the species is increasingly prevalent, particularly close to forest and woodland edges. Such edges have mainly been created by human land use. The evidence we reviewed showed: (1) strong causal links between the noisy miner and depressed richness and abundance of smaller birds, particularly nectarivores and insectivores; (2) moderate evidence of a positive association with larger bird species; (3) reduced tree condition stemming from impaired control of insect herbivore populations by smaller insectivores; and (4) a plausible negative effect on plant reproduction through reduced tree condition, altered pollination services and altered seed dispersal. Main conclusions This is the first synthesis to document the causes and likely ecological consequences of increasingly prevalent phase shifts catalysed by a despotic species on ecosystems at very large spatial scales (> 1 million km2). Native species affected by human activities can become agents that induce ecological dysfunction.

AB - Aim Reports of profound changes in species assemblages brought about by the influence of strongly interacting species are increasingly common. Where these strong interactors are sensitive to anthropogenic habitat changes, relatively small alterations in the environment can result in large and pervasive shifts in assemblages. We review the evidence for widespread assemblage-level phase shifts across eastern Australia, triggered partly by anthropogenic habitat alteration and mediated by a native, despotic bird: the noisy miner Manorina melanocephala. Location Eastern Australia. Methods Based on the literature, we developed conceptual models of factors affecting site occupancy by, and ecosystem-level effects of, the noisy miner. We also analysed recent trends in the reporting rate of the noisy miner across its range. Results Individuals of this species cooperate to aggressively exclude almost all smaller bird species from the areas they occupy. The noisy miner is advantaged by habitat fragmentation and structural simplification—habitat changes that facilitate detection and interception of potential competitors by miners. We report that the species is increasingly prevalent, particularly close to forest and woodland edges. Such edges have mainly been created by human land use. The evidence we reviewed showed: (1) strong causal links between the noisy miner and depressed richness and abundance of smaller birds, particularly nectarivores and insectivores; (2) moderate evidence of a positive association with larger bird species; (3) reduced tree condition stemming from impaired control of insect herbivore populations by smaller insectivores; and (4) a plausible negative effect on plant reproduction through reduced tree condition, altered pollination services and altered seed dispersal. Main conclusions This is the first synthesis to document the causes and likely ecological consequences of increasingly prevalent phase shifts catalysed by a despotic species on ecosystems at very large spatial scales (> 1 million km2). Native species affected by human activities can become agents that induce ecological dysfunction.

KW - Ecosystem disruption

KW - interspecific competition

KW - keystone species

KW - landscape modification

KW - phase shift

KW - strong interactor.

U2 - 10.1111/ddi.12128

DO - 10.1111/ddi.12128

M3 - Article

VL - 19

SP - 1468

EP - 1479

JO - Diversity and Distributions

JF - Diversity and Distributions

SN - 1366-9516

ER -

Maron M, Grey MJ, Catterall CP, Major RE, Oliver DL, Clarke MF et al. Avifaunal disarray due to a single despotic species. Diversity and Distributions. 2013;19:1468-1479. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12128