Risch Anita Christina

Diet composition of alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra L.): Is there evidence for forage competition to the alpine ibex (Capra ibex L.)?

Project Number: CH-6390
Project Type: Master
Project Duration: 07/01/2008 - 07/01/2009
Funding Source: other ,
Leading Institution: Universität Zürich
Project Leader: Prof. Anita Christina Risch
Head of Animal Ecology
Ökologie der Lebensgemeinschaften
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf
Phone: ; +41 (0) 44 739 21 11
FAX: +41 (0) 44 739 22 15
e-Mail: anita.risch(at)wsl.ch
Metadata: http://www.parcs.ch/snp/mmd_fullentry.php?docu_id=7720

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Rupicapra rupicapra L., Capra ibex L., diet composition, forage competition

Competition between animal species (interspecific competition) occurs when two or more species inhabit the same habitat and use a common and limited resource the same way. Competition primarily affects the individuals by reducing fecundity, growth and survival rates, but depending on the strength, also the population dynamics of the competing species are influenced. In some parts of the valleys of Trupchun and Müschauns in the Swiss National Park (SNP) chamois and ibex are living in the same constraint area without obvious separation of their habitats. Since a survey on the forage composition of ibex was conducted, the interest on the dietary composition of chamois arose to investigate if forage competition between this two species occurs. Therefore I conducted micro-histological faecal analysis for chamois forage and compared the results with the data obtained from the ibex. The samples were collected in February, May, August and November 2008 to investigate the diet in all four seasons. Chamois fed most frequently on graminoids regardless of the season, whereas the amount of herbs significantly increased from winter to summer. Ericaceae species were present in the chamois diet during the whole year, but were most frequently consumed in autumn. The conifer consumption was the highest in winter and decreased to almost negligible amounts in summer and autumn. There was a significant difference between chamois and ibex forage in winter, but not in spring, summer and autumn. These findings indicate that chamois and ibex feed on the same forage in seasons when plenty biomass is available but separate to different forages in winter when resources are scarce and competition seem to occur.


Trutmann, Claudia 2009. Diet composition of alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra L.): Is there evidence for forage competition to the alpine ibex (Capra ibex L.)? Master Thesis in Ecology, University of Zurich.

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Last update: 3/20/18
Source of data: ProClim- Research InfoSystem (1993-2020)
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