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Factors driving Arabian gazelles (Gazella arabica) in Israel to extinction: time series analysis of population size and juvenile survival in an unexploited population

Shalmon, B, Sun, P and Wronski, T (2019) Factors driving Arabian gazelles (Gazella arabica) in Israel to extinction: time series analysis of population size and juvenile survival in an unexploited population. Biodiversity and Conservation, 29 (1). pp. 315-332. ISSN 0960-3115

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-019-01884-8 (Published version)

Abstract

Wild populations of Arabian gazelles (Gazella arabica) were once common on the Arabian Peninsula, but today disappeared from large parts of their former range. In Israel only a small population of currently 30 individuals survived, although it was—and still is—well protected from illegal hunting and habitat destruction. In our study we aimed to identify the factors influencing the population growth of G. arabica in Israel over the last two decades (1995–2017). We tested the impact of five environmental variables including annual mean maximum temperature, rainfall, the availability of two major food plants, competition with sympatric dorcas gazelle (G. dorcas) and predation (mainly by wolves) on two dependent variables relating to population viability (population size, percentage fawn survival) using a retrospective time series analysis. After testing for autocorrelations, two generalized least squares (GLS) models with autocorrelations at 3 and 6 years [GLS-AR(3, 6)] were identified as the best models to explain environmental effects on populations size. Wolf encounter rate had a significant negative effect on G. arabica population size, while G. dorcas population size had a significant positive effect, suggesting that wolf predation shapes the population size of both gazelle species. For percentage fawn survival, model residuals did not reveal any significant autocorrelation and the best fit GLS-AR(0) model retained only wolf encounter rate and mean annual maximal temperature as significant predictors. This result suggests a strong impact of wolf predation and increasing temperatures on the fawn survival of Arabian gazelles. Changed rainfall patterns, food availability and competition between gazelle species had no impact on fawn survival.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0501 Ecological Applications, 0502 Environmental Science and Management, 0602 Ecology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (new Sep 19)
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2020 11:01
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2020 11:15
DOI or Identification number: 10.1007/s10531-019-01884-8
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12532

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