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      The relationship between tooth wear, habitat quality and late-life reproduction in a wild red deer population

      , , , , ,

      Journal of Animal Ecology

      Wiley

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          Abstract

          1. Molar tooth wear is considered an important proximate mechanism driving patterns of senescence in ungulates but few studies have investigated the causes of variation in molar wear or their consequences for reproductive success. 2. In this study, we assessed molar tooth wear at death among red deer Cervus elaphus of known age on the Isle of Rum, Scotland. 3. First molar height showed a decelerating decline with age. In females, the rates of molar wear with age varied with location of home range and individuals experiencing low resource competition showed reduced molar wear. We suggest that this spatial variation in molar wear is related to differences in the availability of high-quality grazing habitat and levels of resource competition. 4. There was no evidence that females with more heavily worn molars had reduced reproductive performance late in life or that first molar height was associated with reproductive senescence.

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          Heritability of fitness in a wild mammal population.

          Classical population genetics theory predicts that selection should deplete heritable genetic variance for fitness. We show here that, consistent with this prediction, there was a negative correlation between the heritability of a trait and its association with fitness in a wild population of red deer (Cervus elaphus) and there was no evidence of significant heritability of total fitness. However, the decline in heritability was caused, at least in part, by increased levels of residual variance in longevity and, hence, in total fitness: in this population, longevity is known to be heavily influenced by environmental factors. Other life history traits that were not associated with longevity, such as average annual breeding success, had higher heritabilities. Coefficients of additive genetic variance differed markedly between traits, but highly skewed measures, such as male breeding success, generally had greater coefficients of variance than morphometric traits. Finally, there were significant maternal effects in a range of traits, particularly for females.
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            Harmonic Mean Measure of Animal Activity Areas

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              Roe Deer Survival Patterns: A Comparative Analysis of Contrasting Populations

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Animal Ecology
                J Anim Ecology
                Wiley
                0021-8790
                1365-2656
                March 2007
                March 2007
                : 76
                : 2
                : 402-412
                Article
                10.1111/j.1365-2656.2007.01212.x
                17302848
                © 2007

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