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Influence of the yellow-throated miner (Manorina flavigula) on bird communities and tree health in a fragmented landscape

O'Loughlin, Thea; O'Loughlin, Luke S.; Clarke, Michael F.

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CONTEXT: Competition for space and resources within a fragmented landscape may change interspecific interactions within the remaining available habitat. These changes may inhibit the persistence of one species but facilitate the success of another. The yellow-throated miner (Manorina flavigula) is an example of a successful species, reportedly more common in the landscape as a result of fragmentation yet the consequences of its success are still relatively unknown. AIMS: To investigate whether...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorO'Loughlin, Thea
dc.contributor.authorO'Loughlin, Luke S.
dc.contributor.authorClarke, Michael F.
dc.date.accessioned2015-04-22T06:06:10Z
dc.date.available2015-04-22T06:06:10Z
dc.identifier.issn1035-3712
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/13300
dc.description.abstractCONTEXT: Competition for space and resources within a fragmented landscape may change interspecific interactions within the remaining available habitat. These changes may inhibit the persistence of one species but facilitate the success of another. The yellow-throated miner (Manorina flavigula) is an example of a successful species, reportedly more common in the landscape as a result of fragmentation yet the consequences of its success are still relatively unknown. AIMS: To investigate whether the yellow-throated miner had negative impacts on bird community assemblages, particularly small insectivorous species, and whether its presence resulted in higher psyllid abundances and lower tree health, similar to impacts noted for other miner species. METHODS: We undertook this study near Walpeup in Victoria’s Mallee region, a highly fragmented, agriculture-dominated, semiarid landscape. Yellow-throated miner colonies and control sites free of miners were identified and surveyed for bird species present, psyllid abundance and measures of tree health. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of the yellow-throated miner was associated with a significant reduction in bird species richness, lower abundance of small birds and a dissimilar community composition. Psyllid abundance was higher in miner colonies and tree health was significantly lower. Small insectivorous birds compete directly with miners for resources and, as such, are likely targeted by interspecific aggressive behaviour. The absence of small species from miner colonies most likely caused a trend in increased psyllid abundance and subsequently reduced tree health. IMPLICATIONS: Our findings suggest that management of these miners is likely required to prevent further loss of biodiversity in this fragmented landscape. The loss of bird species and reduced tree health due to the influence of the yellow-throated miner presents one of the greatest threats to these communities nationally and a challenging conservation problem.
dc.description.sponsorshipThis study was undertaken in part thanks to funding provided by Biosis Research Pty Ltd.
dc.publisherCSIRO Publishing
dc.rights© CSIRO 2014
dc.sourceWildlife Research
dc.titleInfluence of the yellow-throated miner (Manorina flavigula) on bird communities and tree health in a fragmented landscape
dc.typeJournal article
local.identifier.citationvolume41
dc.date.issued2015-03-04
local.identifier.absfor050202 - Conservation and Biodiversity
local.identifier.ariespublicationa383154xPUB2973
local.publisher.urlhttp://www.publish.csiro.au/
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationO'Loughlin, T., Fenner School of the Environment and Society, The Australian National University
local.bibliographicCitation.issue6
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage537
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage544
local.identifier.doi10.1071/WR14174
local.identifier.absseo960806 - Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
dc.date.updated2015-12-11T07:49:37Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84924004379
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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