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1 May 2017 Habitat Selection, Interspecific Competition, and Coexistence of a Habitat Generalist and Specialist in Temperate Rainforest of Southeastern Alaska
Winston P. Smith, Barry J. Fox
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Communities include habitat generalists whose resource use overlaps specialists. Habitat selection is a mechanism that allows competing species to coexist. Interspecific competition can facilitate coexistence directly or through promoting differential habitat selection. Habitat selection and interspecific competition can vary with population density; however, their roles in determining relative abundance of species across habitat space are poorly understood. We studied Peromyscus keeni, which flourishes in a range of habitats in southeastern Alaska, and Myodes gapperi, a specialist of mature coniferous forests in western North America, to elucidate how these mechanisms may facilitate coexistence in temperate rainforest. We used stepwise multiple regressions of minimum known alive (standardized to unit variance) across 1 ha grids during spring 1999–2000 and autumn 1998–2000 to determine contributions each variable, in each significant regression model, made to the variance in abundance for each species. We determined relative contributions of interspecific competition versus habitat selection in explaining species' habitat use among four different types of rainforest habitat. Intensity of interspecific competition (both directions) varied with population density and season. Habitat variables, rather than interspecific competition, explained variation in species' abundance at population peaks when intraspecific competition would be intense. Interspecific competition, with habitat, was significant at all other times. Our findings suggest habitat selection and interspecific competition explain variation in the abundance of both species among habitats, but contributions vary seasonally and with density. During spring, interspecific competition seemingly plays a greater role at higher densities, but during autumn interspecific competition increases its relative contribution as population density decreases.

© 2017 by the Northwest Scientific Association. All rights reserved.
Winston P. Smith and Barry J. Fox "Habitat Selection, Interspecific Competition, and Coexistence of a Habitat Generalist and Specialist in Temperate Rainforest of Southeastern Alaska," Northwest Science 91(2), 103-123, (1 May 2017).
Received: 1 October 2015; Accepted: 1 January 2017; Published: 1 May 2017

interspecific competition
Myodes gapperi
Peromyscus keeni
temperate rainforest
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