Dingo utilisation of stranded marine fauna washed ashore on K’gari (Fraser Island), Australia, by dingoes

Behrendorff, Linda and Leung, Luke K.-P. and Allen, Benjamin L. (2018) Dingo utilisation of stranded marine fauna washed ashore on K’gari (Fraser Island), Australia, by dingoes. Australian Journal of Zoology, 66 (2). pp. 128-138. ISSN 0004-959X

Abstract

Stranded marine fauna have been identified as a potentially significant food resource for terrestrial carnivores,
but how such subsidisation influences terrestrial species ecology is not well understood. We describe the dietary and
behavioural responses of dingoes (Canis familiaris) to the occurrence of large-animal marine strandings (e.g. dead
cetaceans, marine turtles and pinnipeds) between 2006 and 2016 on K’gari (Fraser Island), Australia, to better understand the trophic links between marine and terrestrial systems. A total of 309 strandings were recorded during this period (~3.1 strandings per month), yielding an annual average of 30.3 tons of available carrion to the 100–200 dingoes present on the island. Carcass monitoring with camera traps showed that dingoes used carcasses almost daily after a short period of decomposition. Whole packs of up to seven dingoes of all age classes at a time were observed visiting carcasses for multiple successive days. These data demonstrate that large-animal marine subsidies can be a common, substantial and important food source for dingoes, and that the estimated daily dietary needs of roughly 5–10% of the island’s dingo population were supported by this food source. Our data suggest that marine subsidisation can influence terrestrial carnivore diet, behaviour and abundance, which may produce cascading indirect effects for terrestrial ecosystems in contexts where subsidized carnivores interact strongly with other species.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2019 04:47
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2019 22:36
Uncontrolled Keywords: dingoes, Fraser Island, diet, whale, marine, stranding
Fields of Research : 06 Biological Sciences > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1071/ZO18022
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/35343

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