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The following schedule is subject to change (as of October 11, 2016). Please check back for updates. For more information about this meeting, go to: www.seafwa.org/conferences/2016
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Tuesday, October 18 • 11:40am - 12:00pm
Wildlife. Carnivore diet on Louisiana barrier beaches

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AUTHORS: Mirka Zapletal, University of Louisiana at Lafayette; Dr. Paul Leberg, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

ABSTRACT: Dietary analysis provides information on predator trophic roles. We investigated the diets of coyotes and raccoons at eight barrier beach sites in coastal Louisiana, from Cypremort Point SP in the west to East Grande Terre in the east. We analyzed 59 coyote and 30 raccoon scats across broad prey categories to reveal patterns in dietary breadth, evenness, and prey volume. Coyotes exhibited significantly greater dietary breadth than raccoons (Wilcoxon, X^2 = 4.27, df = 1, P = 0.039), but dietary evenness did not differ between species (Wilcoxon, X^2 = 0.00, df = 1, P = 1.00). Coyote diet was dominated by mammalian prey (especially lagomorphs), grasses, and other plant materials, while raccoons consumed crustaceans, insects, and grasses more than other types of prey. Coyote dietary breadth was significantly influenced by rabbit presence (Wilcoxon, X^2 = 3.86, df = 1, P = 0.0495), suggesting that coyotes consumed fewer types of prey when rabbits are an available resource. We investigated changes in volume of prey in scats across environmental gradients (i.e. site size, vegetative complexity); as site isolation increased, raccoons consumed a greater volume of small mammal prey. Coyotes consumed smaller volumes of crustaceans and birds in sites with rabbits. Our results suggest that carnivore diet varies by species and responds to habitat complexity and prey availability. These patterns have conservation implications in coastal Louisiana where prey species include managed seabird populations and rising sea levels will alter habitat and prey availability. Carnivore management should employ species-specific strategies.

Tuesday October 18, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm
Riverview B

Attendees (8)