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Gewählte Publikation:

Cybulska, N; Hacklander, K; Palme, R; Frey-Roos, A; Schai-Braun, SC.
(2020): Influence of cereal harvest on adrenocortical activity in European hares (Lepus europaeus)
EUR J WILDLIFE RES. 2020; 66(6), 95 FullText FullText_BOKU

Anthropogenic disturbances, such as habitat modifications and machines, are associated with increased levels of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (fGCMs) in mammals, an indicator of a stress response. One human-caused process provoking incisive habitat alterations is harvesting arable crops. We investigated the effect of cereal harvest on fGCM concentrations in European hares (Lepus europaeus) in arable landscapes in lower Austria during the year 2018 by collecting 591 faecal samples before, during and after cereal harvest. fGCMs were analysed using an enzyme immunoassay, and data were analysed using linear mixed-effects models. We found that neither cereal harvest nor farming practice (organic vs. conventional) caused an overall increase in the hares' stress level. Lower vegetation density and higher proportions of bare ground were negatively correlated with fGCM concentrations, whereas the proportion of stubble fields was significantly positively correlated with fGCM concentrations in European hares. A change to more open landscapes might decrease time spent avoiding predation, and fallen grains may provide a beneficial additional food source for the hares. This indicates that European hares are well adapted to an opening up of the landscape and short-term disturbances such as cereal harvesting. In conclusion, cereal harvest had no large impact on European hares' adrenocortical activity in an arable landscape with small average field size and enough available non-farmed areas.
Autor*innen der BOKU Wien:
Frey-Roos Alfred
Hackländer Klaus

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Brown hare
Habitat change
Vegetation structure
Agricultural management system

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