Ecologists study all those interactions that set stage for Darwin’s struggle for existence. These interactions determine organisms’ distribution and abundance. I will talk about predation and competition -- two major biotic interactions -- that define species distribution and habitat use. I will focus on the snow leopard to elucidate predation-risk in a Himalayan ecosystem, while I move to Canadian Arctic to show how competition among lemmings may reveal a local community structure.
I will discuss the techniques of mud-and-boots field biology that I combined with the concepts of foraging theory to show how the vigilance behavior of Himalayan tahr, snow leopard’s main prey, led to the distribution and habitat use of snow leopards on Mt. Everest. On the frontier of competition, I will touch upon the theories of habitat selection, and show how intra-specific competition in brown lemming and micro-habitat partition among lemmings and voles revealed different habitat types at Herschel Island in Yukon Territory.
My talk ends with possible conservation implications.