Structure of the medium-sized carnivore’s community in Catalonia (Iberian Peninsula, NE) is organized following the environmental gradients

  •  Abstract

Catalonia, with a high environmental gradient diversity deals with offer an interesting opportunity to study how the communities structured. According to previous works, this carnivore community consists of thirteen natives and one introduced species. The importance of obtaining reliable estimates for community structures of medium-sized carnivores is of paramount importance to inform decision-making processes due to carnivores can be important drivers of ecosystem function, structure or dynamics. In order to assess the effectiveness of four different broad-applied carnivore monitoring methods: waiting stations, nocturnal spotlight surveys, camera traps and opportunistic observations. We compared the different methods in three biogeographical regions of Catalonia, comparing the number of observations and the number of different species that each method can detect. Overall, the results indicate that nocturnal spotlight surveys were the most efficient method to assess species richness and the community structure. Therefore, the present study was also conducted in order establish which are the most notable landscape, topographic or climatic variables that explain better the medium-sized carnivore’s community structures. We could conclude that the Catalan mediumsized carnivores structure is organized following environmental gradients.

  • Key words

Mediterranean ecosystems, Medium-sized carnivores, Community structure, Species richness, Large-scale monitoring

  • More information

This report is the result of my Master’s Degree in Terrestrial Ecology and Biodiversity Management project. The present study started on February 2017 with the Direcció General de Medi Ambient i Biodiversitat, Departament d’Agricultura, Ramadería, Pesca i Alimentació, Generalitat de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, under the supervision of Dr. Jordi Ruiz-Olmo. My Master’s Degree was conducted at Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) where this report has been also supervised by Francesc Muñoz-Muñoz. I was provided with the Catalan carnivore monitoring database that I needed for the study. My contribution to this work has been: 1) Conducting fieldwork to obtain the carnivore survey for the year 2017 and expand the database; 2) Conducting fieldwork applying four broad-applied methods for test and compare their efficiency. 3) definition of the objectives and methodology (with supervisors’ advice); 4) analysis and interpretation of results (with supervisors’ advice); 5) writing of the document (with supervisors’ advice).

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