Barros, A.L., Curveira-Santos, G., Marques, T.A. & Santos-Reis, M. (2020) Accounting for detection unveils the intricacy of wild boar and rabbit co-occurrence patterns in a Mediterranean landscape.Scientific Reports, 10, 6651. DOI:10.1038/s41598-020-63492-9 (IF2020 4,379; Q1 Multidisciplinary Sciences)
The patterns of species co-occurrence have long served as a primary approach to explore concepts of interspecific interaction. However, the interpretation of such patterns is difficult as they can result from several complex ecological processes, in a scale-dependent manner. Here, we aim to investigate the co-occurrence pattern between European rabbit and wild boar in an estate in Central Portugal, using two-species occupancy modelling. With this framework, we tested species interaction for occupancy and detection, but also the interdependencies between both parameters. According to our results, the wild boar and European rabbit occurred independently in the study area. However, model averaging of the detection parameters revealed a potential positive effect of wild boar’s presence on rabbit’s detection probability. Upon further analysis of the parameter interdependencies, our results suggested that failing to account for a positive effect on rabbit’s detection could lead to potentially biased interpretations of the co-occurrence pattern. Our study, in spite of preliminary, highlights the need to understand these different pathways of species interaction to avoid erroneous inferences.