Middle-out ecology: small carnivores as sentinels of global change

Marneweck, Courtney J. and Allen, Benjamin L. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1533-0163 and Butler, Andrew R. and Do Linh San, Emmanuel and Harris, Stephen N. and Jensen, Alex J. and Saldo, Elizabeth A. and Somers, Michael J. and Titus, Keifer and Muthersbaugh, Michael and Vanak, Abi and Jachowski, David S. (2022) Middle-out ecology: small carnivores as sentinels of global change. Mammal Review. ISSN 0305-1838

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Abstract

Species that respond to ecosystem change in a timely, measurable, and interpretable way can be used as sentinels of global change. Contrary to a pervasive view, we suggest that, among Carnivora, small carnivores are more appropriate sentinels than large carnivores. This reasoning is built around six key points: that, compared to large carnivores, small carnivores 1) are more species-rich and diverse, providing more potential sentinels in many systems; 2) occupy a wider range of ecological niches, exhibiting a greater variety of sensitivities to change; 3) hold an intermediate trophic position that is more directly affected by changes at the producer, primary consumer, and tertiary consumer levels; 4) have shorter life spans and higher reproductive rates, exhibiting more rapid responses to change; 5) have smaller home ranges and are more abundant, making it easier to investigate fine-scale management interventions; 6) are easier to monitor, manage, and manipulate. Therefore, we advocate for incorporating a middle-out approach, in addition to the established top-down and bottom-up approaches, to assessing the responses of ecosystems to global change.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2022 23:26
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2022 23:26
Uncontrolled Keywords: Carnivora, change, global, indicator, mesocarnivore, sentinel, small carnivore
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410407 Wildlife and habitat management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180606 Terrestrial biodiversity
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/mam.12300
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/49589

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