Can a mesocarnivore fill in the functional role of an apex predator?
As keystone species, apex predators play a role in structuring most ecosystems through competition and facilitation, thereby affecting community structure, prey abundance and behavior, vegetation, and abiotic processes. Apex predators are also highly threatened and have been extirpated from much of North America, leading to mesocarnivores, such as coyotes (Canis latrans), becoming de facto apex predators in many ecosystems. However, it is unknown if these mesocarnivores can fill the same functional keystone role as true apex predators.
Ecosphere – 2023 – Avrin – Can a mesocarnivore fill the functional role of an apex predator