• Interspecific competition is an important evolutionary force, influencing interactions between species and shaping the composition of biological communities. In mammalian carnivores, to reduce the risks of negative encounters between competitors, species can employ a strategy of temporal partitioning, adapting activity patterns to limit synchronous activity. This strategy of non-human competitor avoidance, however, may be influenced by the expansion of human activities, which has driven wild mammals towards nocturnality. • We hypothesise that the disruption of temporal niche partitioning by humans and their activities could increase temporal overlap between carnivores, enhancing interspecific competition. • We reviewed the published literature systematically and employed generalised linear models to evaluate quantitatively the relative influence of a range of human, meteorological and ecological variables on coefficients of temporal overlap within mammalian terrestrial carnivore communities (orders Carnivora and Didelphimorphia) on a global scale. • None of the models investigated showed evidence of an impact of humans on temporal partitioning between carnivores on a global scale. This illustrates that temporal avoidance of humans and competitors does not always follow a consistent pattern and that its strength may be context-dependent and relative to other dimensions of niche partitioning (spatial and trophic). • Similarly, the regulation of activity patterns may be strongly site-specific and may be influenced by a combination of biotic and abiotic characteristics. Temporal avoidance of both humans and competitors by carnivores may take the form of short, reactive responses that do not impact activity patterns in the longer term. • Although we did not detect a global disruption of temporal partitioning due to human disturbance, carnivore communities may still experience an increase in interspecific competition in other niche dimensions. Further research would benefit from using controlled experimental designs and investigating multiple dimensions of niche partitioning simultaneously. Finally, we recommend complementing the coefficient of temporal overlap with other metrics of fine-scale spatiotemporal interactions.
Among species, coexistence is driven partly by the partitioning of available resources. The mechanisms of coexistence and competition among species have been a central topic within community ecology, with particular focus on mammalian carnivore community research. However, despite growing concern regarding the impact of humans on the behaviour of species, very little is known about the effect of humans on species interactions. The aim of this review is to establish a comprehensive framework for the impacts of human disturbance on three dimensions (spatial, temporal and trophic) of niche partitioning within carnivore communities and subsequent effects on both intraguild competition and community structure. We conducted a systematic review of the literature on carnivore niche partitioning (246 studies) and extracted 46 reported effects of human disturbance. We found evidence that human disturbance impacts resource partitioning, either positively or negatively, in all three niche dimensions. The repercussions of such variations are highly heterogeneous and differ according to both the type of human disturbance and how the landscape and/or availability of resources are affected. We propose a theoretical framework of the three main outcomes for the impacts of human disturbance on intraguild competition and carnivore community structure: (i) human disturbance impedes niche partitioning, increasing intraguild competition and reducing the richness and diversity of the community; (ii) human disturbance unbalances niche partitioning and intraguild competition, affecting community stability; and (iii) human disturbance facilitates niche partitioning, decreasing intraguild competition and enriching the community. We call for better integration of the impact of humans on carnivore communities in future research on interspecific competition.