Seasonal variation in the relative dominance of herbivore guilds in an African savanna

Andrew B. Davies, Berndt J. Van Rensburg, Mark P. Robertson, Shaun R. Levick, Gregory P. Asner, Catherine L. Parr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

African savannas are highly seasonal with a diverse array of both mammalian and invertebrate herbivores, yet herbivory studies have focused almost exclusively on mammals. We conducted a 2-yr exclosure experiment in South Africa's Kruger National Park to measure the relative impact of these two groups of herbivores on grass removal at both highly productive patches (termite mounds) and in the less productive savanna matrix. Invertebrate and mammalian herbivory was greater on termite mounds, but the relative importance of each group changed over time. Mammalian offtake was higher than invertebrates in the dry season, but can be eclipsed by invertebrates during the wet season when this group is more active. Our results demonstrate that invertebrates play a substantial role in savanna herbivory and should not be disregarded in attempts to understand the impacts of herbivory on ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1618-1624
Number of pages7
JournalEcology
Volume97
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

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guild
savanna
savannas
herbivore
herbivores
seasonal variation
herbivory
invertebrate
invertebrates
termite mounds
termite
wet season
dry season
national park
mammal
grass
national parks
South Africa
matrix
mammals

Cite this

Davies, A. B., Van Rensburg, B. J., Robertson, M. P., Levick, S. R., Asner, G. P., & Parr, C. L. (2016). Seasonal variation in the relative dominance of herbivore guilds in an African savanna. Ecology, 97(6), 1618-1624. https://doi.org/10.1890/15-1905.1
Davies, Andrew B. ; Van Rensburg, Berndt J. ; Robertson, Mark P. ; Levick, Shaun R. ; Asner, Gregory P. ; Parr, Catherine L. / Seasonal variation in the relative dominance of herbivore guilds in an African savanna. In: Ecology. 2016 ; Vol. 97, No. 6. pp. 1618-1624.
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Davies, AB, Van Rensburg, BJ, Robertson, MP, Levick, SR, Asner, GP & Parr, CL 2016, 'Seasonal variation in the relative dominance of herbivore guilds in an African savanna', Ecology, vol. 97, no. 6, pp. 1618-1624. https://doi.org/10.1890/15-1905.1

Seasonal variation in the relative dominance of herbivore guilds in an African savanna. / Davies, Andrew B.; Van Rensburg, Berndt J.; Robertson, Mark P.; Levick, Shaun R.; Asner, Gregory P.; Parr, Catherine L.

In: Ecology, Vol. 97, No. 6, 01.06.2016, p. 1618-1624.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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Davies AB, Van Rensburg BJ, Robertson MP, Levick SR, Asner GP, Parr CL. Seasonal variation in the relative dominance of herbivore guilds in an African savanna. Ecology. 2016 Jun 1;97(6):1618-1624. https://doi.org/10.1890/15-1905.1