Christopher R. Dickman

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Top-order predators often have positive effects on biological diversity owing to their key functional roles in regulating trophic cascades and other ecological processes. Their loss has been identified as a major factor contributing to the decline of biodiversity in both aquatic and terrestrial systems. Consequently, restoring and maintaining the ecological(More)
Many species of vertebrates require multiple habitats to obtain different resources at different stages of their life-cycles. Use of habitat mosaics takes place on a variety of spatial and temporal scales, from a daily requirement for adjacent habitats to seasonal use of geographically separated environments. Mosaics of habitats are also required in some(More)
An investigation was made of the effects of reducing and enhancing the intensity of competition on a small marsupial, Antechinus stuartii, from a larger and competitively dominant congener, A. swainsonii. Populations of these species were monitored in two study areas (one control, one experimental) in forest near Canberra, Australia, between February and(More)
Alien predators can have catastrophic effects on ecosystems and are thought to be much more harmful to biodiversity than their native counterparts. However, trophic cascade theory and the mesopredator release hypothesis predict that the removal of top predators will result in the reorganization of trophic webs and loss of biodiversity. Using field data(More)
Suicidal reproduction (semelparity) has evolved in only four genera of mammals. In these insectivorous marsupials, all males die after mating, when failure of the corticosteroid feedback mechanism elevates stress hormone levels during the mating season and causes lethal immune system collapse (die-off). We quantitatively test and resolve the evolutionary(More)
The hypothesis that low productivity has uniquely constrained Australia's large mammalian carnivore diversity, and by inference the biota in general, has become an influential backdrop to interpretations of ecology on the island continent. Whether low productivity has been primary impacts broadly on our understanding of mammalian biogeography, but(More)
The respiratory physiology of four species of Australian desert-dwelling beetle was examined using a flow-through respirometry system over the temperature range of 20–40°C. The two species of tenebrionid beetles (Heleus waitei and Pterohelaeus sp.) did not exhibit the discontinuous gas exchange cycles (DGC), a mechanism to possibly reduce respiratory water(More)
The introduction of invasive alien predators often has catastrophic effects on populations of naïve native prey, but in situations where prey survive the initial impact a predator may act as a strong selective agent for prey that can discriminate and avoid it. Using two common species of Australian small mammals that have persisted in the presence of an(More)
This study tests the hypothesis that competition occurs in a community of three species of small mammals (Antechinus stuartii and A. swainsonii, Marsupialia; Rattus fuscipes, Rodentia) in south-eastern Australia. The hypothesis was tested by using a simple model of competition that is based on two premises: I. competition results in a negative numerical or(More)
Resource pulses in the world's hot deserts are driven largely by rainfall and are highly variable in both time and space. However, run-on areas and drainage lines in arid regions receive more water more often than adjacent habitats, and frequently sustain relatively high levels of primary productivity. These landscape features therefore may support higher(More)