Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

The fast-food effect: Costs of being a generalist in a human-dominated landscape

Guerrero-Sanchez, Sergio, Frias, Liesbeth, Saimin, Silvester, Orozco Ter Wengel, Pablo ORCID: and Goossens, Benoit ORCID: 2023. The fast-food effect: Costs of being a generalist in a human-dominated landscape. Conservation Physiology 11 (1) , coad055. 10.1093/conphys/coad055

[thumbnail of coad055.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (2MB) | Preview


Agricultural expansion in Southeast Asia has converted most natural landscapes into mosaics of forest interspersed with plantations, dominated by the presence of generalist species that benefit from resource predictability. Dietary shifts, however, can result in metabolic alterations and the exposure of new parasites that can impact animal fitness and population survival. Our study focuses on the Asian water monitor lizard (Varanus salvator), one of the largest predators in the Asian wetlands, as a model species to understand the health consequences of living in a human-dominated landscape in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. We evaluated the effects of dietary diversity on the metabolism of monitor lizards and the impact on the composition of their parasite communities in an oil palm-dominated landscape. Our results showed that (1) rodent-dominated diets were associated with high levels of lipids, proteins and electrolytes, akin to a fast-food-based diet of little representativeness of the full nutritional requirements, but highly available, and (2) lizards feeding on diverse diets hosted more diverse parasite communities, however, at overall lower parasite prevalence. Furthermore, we observed that the effect of diet on lipid concentration differed depending on the size of individual home ranges, suggesting that sedentarism plays an important role in the accumulation of cholesterol and triglycerides. Parasite communities were also affected by a homogeneous dietary behaviour, as well as by habitat type. Dietary diversity had a negative effect on both parasite richness and prevalence in plantations, but not in forested areas. Our study indicates that human-dominated landscapes can pose a negative effect on generalist species and hints to the unforeseen health consequences for more vulnerable taxa using the same landscapes. Thus, it highlights the potential role of such a widely distributed generalist as model species to monitor physiological effects in the ecosystem in an oil palm-dominated landscape.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 2051-1434
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 July 2023
Date of Acceptance: 16 July 2023
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2023 10:12

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics