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Ecomorphological Disparity of Small Carnivore Guilds

Meloro, C (2022) Ecomorphological Disparity of Small Carnivore Guilds. In: Do Linh San, E, Sato, JJ, Belant, JL and Somers, MJ, (eds.) Small Carnivores: Evolution, Ecology, Behaviour, and Conservation, First Edition. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 93-106. ISBN 978-1-118-94326-7

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Mammalian species composition might change in relation to biotic or abiotic factors depending on the scale of investigation. Ecomorphology is one of the tools that can be employed to understand how species composition changes through space and time. Here, the morphological diversity of small carnivore guilds (defined as a pool of carnivoran species whose body mass is < 7 kg) is explored using 2D geometric morphometrics of mandibles belonging to 61 species. A strong taxonomic signal emerges by looking at mandibular morphospace so that separation of carnivoran families is apparent. Mustelids are the most distinct, being characterized by a short and curved mandibular corpus, while felids exhibit a typical hypercarnivore mandible with no crushing molar area. Overlap occurs between canids, viverrids, and herpestids possibly in relation to their generalized feeding habits and killing behaviours. When species are grouped according to their presence/absence into six carnivoran species-rich ecosystems, an ecogeographical pattern occurs. Guilds from higher latitudes such as Yellowstone (USA) and Krokonose (Europe) together with the Kruger (South Africa) assemblage are highly depleted of mandibular morphotypes. In contrast, guilds from tropical areas (Gunung Lensung, Indonesia; Yasuni, Ecuador; and La Amistad, Panama) exhibit high diversity of mandibular shapes corresponding to higher values of morphological disparity. This latter parameter correlates positively with precipitation variables, supporting a strong influence of climate on the historical community assembly of small carnivore guilds. Clearly, small carnivores can play a key role in ecosystem functioning and more theoretical work is needed to better identify this at multiple spatial and temporal scales.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is the Accepted version of a chapter published in Small Carnivores: Evolution, Ecology, Behaviour and Conservation Author: Emmanuel Do Linh San Jerrold L. Belant Jun J. Sato Michael J. Somers Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Date: Jul 1, 2022Copyright © 2022, John Wiley and Sons available at https://www.wiley.com/en-be/Small+Carnivores:+Evolution,+Ecology,+Behaviour+and+Conservation-p-9781118943281
Uncontrolled Keywords: Climate; Community Assemblage; Geometric Morphometrics; Mandible Shape; Morphospace; Mustelidae
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2022 15:45
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2022 15:45
Editors: Do Linh San, E, Sato, JJ, Belant, JL and Somers, MJ
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17466
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