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Niche partitioning in small mammals: interspecific and biome-level analyses using stable isotopes

Bubadué, J, Cáceres, N, Melo, G, Sponchiado, J, Battistella, T, Newton, J and Meloro, C (2021) Niche partitioning in small mammals: interspecific and biome-level analyses using stable isotopes. Journal of Mammalogy. ISSN 0022-2372

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Small mammal assemblages from South America provide a unique opportunity to measure coexistence and niche partitioning between marsupials and placentals. We tested how these two major clades partition environmental resources by comparing stable isotopic ratios of similar sized Didelphidae and Sigmodontinae in four Brazilian biomes: Pampas grassland, Pantanal wetland, Cerrado woodland savanna, and Atlantic Forest. Generally, didelphid isotopic niche follows a scaling law, because we found an association between δ15N enrichment and body mass. Sigmodontines that primarily partition the environment via forest strata showed a greater intake of C4 or/and crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) plants than didelphids, as reflected by their wider trophic niche. Values of δ13C were highest in savannas and grasslands (Cerrado and Pampas biomes), and values of δ15N were highest in the Atlantic Forest (in sigmodontines) and Pampas (in didelphids). While assessing patterns between the two major Brazilian biomes (Atlantic Forest and Cerrado), we found evidence of a broader trophic niche for both clades in the Cerrado. In the Atlantic Forest, niche occupation by Didelphidae was completely enclosed within the Sigmodontinae trophic niche. Both clades showed less overlap in the Cerrado, a less productive environment. Our results highlight the importance of a comparative framework and the use of stable isotopes for testing ecological questions related to how small mammalian communities partition their niche.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Mammalogy following peer review. The version of record Jamile Bubadué, Nilton Cáceres, Geruza Melo, Jonas Sponchiado, Thaís Battistella, Jason Newton, Carlo Meloro, Niche partitioning in small mammals: interspecific and biome-level analyses using stable isotopes, Journal of Mammalogy, 2021;, gyab063 is available online at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyab063
Uncontrolled Keywords: 05 Environmental Sciences, 06 Biological Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2021 10:24
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2022 00:50
DOI or ID number: 10.1093/jmammal/gyab063
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15230
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