A1 Journal article (refereed)
The Ghost of the Hawk : Top Predator Shaping Bird Communities in Space and Time (2021)

Burgas, D., Ovaskainen, O., Blanchet, F. G., & Byholm, P. (2021). The Ghost of the Hawk : Top Predator Shaping Bird Communities in Space and Time. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9, Article 638039. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.638039

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Burgas, Daniel; Ovaskainen, Otso; Blanchet, F. Guillaume; Byholm, Patrik

Journal or series: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

eISSN: 2296-701X

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 14/05/2021

Volume: 9

Article number: 638039

Publisher: Frontiers Media SA

Publication country: Switzerland

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.638039

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/75845


Despite the wide recognition that strongly interacting species can influence distributions of other species, species interactions are often disregarded when assessing or projecting biodiversity distributions. In particular, it remains largely uncharted the extent to which the disappearance of a keystone species cast repercussions in the species composition of future communities. We tested whether an avian top predator can exert both positive and negative effects on spatial distribution of other species, and if these effects persist even after the predator disappeared. We acquired bird count data at different distances from occupied and non-occupied nests of Northern goshawks Accipiter gentilis. Using a Bayesian joint species distribution model, we found that large bird species (preferred prey) are less abundant in the proximity of nests occupied by goshawks, whereas smaller species –expected to get protection from subordinate predators displaced by goshawks– more often showed an opposite association. These spatial differences level off gradually, but still persist for years after the goshawks have disappeared. This indicates that the composition of local bird populations and communities might be conditional on past species interactions. Therefore, endeavors centered around species distributions could largely benefit from acknowledging the local extinction of keystone species.

Keywords: birds; bird populations; birds of prey; prey; biotic communities; Bayesian analysis

Free keywords: Bayesian community-model; ecological legacy; species distribution; predator-prey interactions; keystone species; heterospecific attraction

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:13