Effect of predation risk and habitat characteristics on the ecology of European hare

Promotie

Effect of predation risk and habitat characteristics on the ecology of European hare

Promovendus MJA (Martijn) Weterings
Promotor prof.dr. HHT (Herbert) Prins
Copromotor dr.ir. F (Frank) van Langevelde
dr. SE (Sip) van Wieren
Organisatie Wageningen University, Resource Ecology
Datum

do 24 mei 2018 11:00 tot 12:30

Locatie Auditorium, building number 362
Generaal Foulkesweg 1
362
6703 BG Wageningen
0317-483592

Summary

The relative importance and the role of predation risk for prey is still subject of debate. European hare are thought to respond particularly strong to predation risk, which possibly contributed to the decline in population numbers in north-west Europe. Therefore I investigated the effects of predation risk and habitat characteristics on European hare. 

I show that predation risk and habitat characteristics modulate prey species behaviour and distribution simultaneously, but their strength depends on the scale of investigation. Overall, predators seemed less important than habitat characteristics in affecting space use and foraging behaviour on the scale of the food patch and the scale of the daily range. Additionally, predators seemed fairly important in affecting body condition and reproductive output at the scale of the home range. The increased numbers, accessibility and distribution of predators has probably contributed to the decline in population numbers of the European hare in north-west Europe.