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Friday, August 10 • 10:20am - 10:40am
SYMPOSIA-09: Animal-indicated Nutritional Carrying Capacity: A Nutritional Approach to Assessing the Capacity for Population Growth

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AUTHORS: Kevin L. Monteith, Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming

ABSTRACT: Density dependence is an essential component for understanding the ecology of many species, especially K-selected large mammals. Misunderstandings, however, abound from failing to recognize that density dependence is both a life-history characteristic of a species, and a functioning attribute of populations.  Despite methodological advances, interactions among predation, climate, and density dependence continue to obscure factors ultimately responsible for regulating population growth.  Through long-term, individual-based monitoring of demography and nutritional condition, my colleagues and I have revealed the importance of nutrition for understanding life-history characteristics and population regulation of large herbivores.  Nutritional condition is a product of an individual’s environment because it integrates nutrient intake and demands, which are a function of habitat, density dependence, and reproduction.  Nutritional reserves are preferentially used to support survival and secondly to support reproduction in long-lived herbivores, thereby creating important links from habitat to nutrition to population dynamics.  Nutritional condition in turn, can indicates the relative position of a population to its annual food supply (i.e., nutritional carrying capacity), and can yield a practical measure of the potential for population growth.  Furthermore, nutrition illuminates the consequences of mortality, because it ultimately determines the baseline potential for survival and recruitment of young—mortality up to this baseline is imminent and irrespective of the proximal cause.  In summary, coupling nutritional ecology with life-history theory provides a fruitful avenue to understand the capacity of landscapes to support population growth and the role of other extrinsic factors in population regulation.

1020AM pdf

Friday August 10, 2018 10:20am - 10:40am MDT
Assembly Hall B

Attendees (5)