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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Different increase rate in body mass of two marten species due to climate warming potentially reinforces interspecific competition

Wereszczuk, Anna; Hofmeester, Tim R.; Csanady, Alexander; Dumic, Tomislav; Elmeros, Morten; Lanszki, Jozsef; Madsen, Aksel B.; Muskens, Gerard; Papakosta, Malamati A.; Popiolek, Marcin; Santos-Reis, Margarida; Zuberogoitia, Inigo; Zalewski, Andrzej


Many species show spatial variation in body size, often associated with climatic patterns. Studying species with contrasting geographical patterns related to climate might help elucidate the role of different drivers. We analysed changes in the body mass of two sympatric medium-sized carnivores-pine marten (Martes martes) and stone marten (Martes foina)-across Europe over 59 years. The body mass of pine marten increased with decreasing latitude, whereas stone marten body mass varied in a more complex pattern across its geographic range. Over time, the average body mass of pine martens increased by 255 g (24%), while stone marten by 86 g (6%). The greatest increase of body mass along both martens' geographic range was observed in central and southern Europe, where both species occur in sympatry. The body mass increase slowed down over time, especially in allopatric regions. The average pine/stone marten body mass ratio increased from 0.87 in 1960 to 0.99 in 2019, potentially strengthening the competition between them. Thus, a differential response in body size to several drivers over time might have led to an adaptive advantage for pine martens. This highlights the importance of considering different responses among interacting species when studying animal adaptation to climate change.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2021, volume: 11, number: 1, article number: 24164

Authors' information

Wereszczuk, Anna
Polish Academy of Sciences
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Wageningen University
Csanady, Alexander
University of Presov
Dumić, Tomislav
Karlovac University of Applied Sciences
Elmeros, Morten
Aarhus University
Lanszki, Jozsef
Szent Istvan Univ
Madsen, Aksel B.
Aarhus University
Muskens, Gerard
Wageningen University and Research
Papakosta, Malamati A.
Democritus University of Thrace
Popiolek, Marcin
University of Wroclaw
Santos-Reis, Margarida
Universidade de Lisboa
Zuberogoitia, Iñigo
Estudios Medioambientales Icarus
Zalewski, Andrzej
Polish Academy of Sciences

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land
SDG13 Climate action

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