Breeding Conditions (breeding + condition)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Effects of forage availability on growth and maturation rates in water voles

Tom P. Moorhouse
Summary 1In populations of small mammals, food supplementation typically results in higher population densities, body weights, growth rates and reproductive rates. However, few studies have demonstrated a relationship between forage levels and demographic rates in wild populations in the absence of supplementation. 2We examined the association of levels of available forage with individual growth rates and time to sexual maturity in eight re-introduced and three naturally occurring populations of water voles (Arvicola terrestris). 3Range sizes were smaller at sites with higher population densities. Mean forage availability and individual growth rates covaried with range size at each site. 4The weight at which water voles became sexually mature was 112 g for females and 115 g for males and did not vary between study sites. Differences in growth rates therefore translated into differences in the time taken to reach maturity between sites. 5In the re-introduced populations, mean days to maturity varied inversely with mean range length. Females took 7 days (18%, range 40,47 days) longer and males 5 days (13%, range 40,45 days) longer to reach breeding condition at the sites with the shortest mean range lengths. 6Evidence from this study suggests a possible mechanism by which increased population densities may reduce maturation rates in water voles through a reduction in mean range size, thereby limiting the availability of forage to each individual. [source]

Behavioral Response of Resident Jamaican Birds to Dry Season Food Supplementation,

BIOTROPICA, Issue 1 2006
David R. Brown
ABSTRACT We used plot-level manipulations and analyses to test the effects of food availability on the behavior and condition of resident dry-forest birds in Jamaica. Two control plots were monitored in each of 2 yr. Food was supplemented on five plots over 2 yr with piles of cut oranges distributed around plots, which served as a direct source of carbohydrates and water, and an indirect source of ground arthropods due to increased above-ground activity. We reduced ants on five plots over 2 yr; however, we found no difference in total ground arthropod biomass between control and reduction treatments, so we pooled these plots for analysis. We selected nine focal resident bird species for study of relative abundance, body condition, and breeding condition. Birds were sampled prior to, and 5 to 6 weeks after the initiation of treatments. Seven of nine species had higher relative abundance following food supplementation. Three species were recaptured more frequently in supplementation plots than in control plots. These abundance and persistence responses did not cause any changes in body condition. In one species, Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola), food supplementation resulted in higher concentrations of individuals in breeding condition. These results demonstrate a functional response to dry-season food availability and suggest a limiting mechanism. This study helps explain mechanisms by which bird populations respond to resource availability, and is the first successful plot-level food supplementation experiment for tropical forest birds. [source]

Mimicking Natural Nursing Conditions Promotes Early Pup Survival in Domestic Rabbits

ETHOLOGY, Issue 3 2000
Gérard Coureaud
In the wild rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, mother,young relationships are based on restricted, once-per-day nursing interactions. Correspondingly, pups have evolved an efficient strategy of energy saving. Here we investigate under breeding conditions, whether matching or not, the once-daily nursing visit by the rabbit females has an effect on pup survival and growth. Two nursing regimen were applied to 89 primiparous (P) and to 78 multiparous (M) does: (a) one that matched the once daily nursing pattern (closed nest-box during the whole day except for a few minutes devoted to nursing) and (b) one that did not match it (24 h free nest access). In P females, the controlled nest access resulted in lower mortality between birth and weaning (8.1%) as compared to the free nest-access (18%). This effect was recorded from postnatal d 3,4 onwards. Both treatments induced different death causes (starvation (63%) in controlled-access regimen, and wounds and nest-soiling (29%) in free-access regimen). While both experimental nest-access regimens differentially affected pup survival in P or M females, they were without influence on pup growth rate in does of either parity. It is concluded that repeated nest visits by the female increase risks of injury to pups, and of out-of-time pup activation or sucking, and that, more generally, it plays against the ethophysiologigal strategy of biomass conservation evolved by rabbit newborns. The fact that the nest-access regimen no longer affected pup survival from the second parity suggests that the behaviour of multiparous does more adequately models the offspring demands. [source]

Integrating geo-referenced multiscale and multidisciplinary data for the management of biodiversity in livestock genetic resources

S. Joost
Summary In livestock genetic resource conservation, decision making about conservation priorities is based on the simultaneous analysis of several different criteria that may contribute to long-term sustainable breeding conditions, such as genetic and demographic characteristics, environmental conditions, and role of the breed in the local or regional economy. Here we address methods to integrate different data sets and highlight problems related to interdisciplinary comparisons. Data integration is based on the use of geographic coordinates and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In addition to technical problems related to projection systems, GIS have to face the challenging issue of the non homogeneous scale of their data sets. We give examples of the successful use of GIS for data integration and examine the risk of obtaining biased results when integrating datasets that have been captured at different scales. [source]

Mild stress during development affects the phenotype of great tit Parus major nestlings: a challenge experiment

Conditions experienced during early development may affect both adult phenotype and performance later during life. Phenotypic traits may hence be used to indicate past growing conditions and predict future survival probabilities. Relationships between phenotypic markers and future survival are, however, highly heterogeneous, possibly because poor- and high-quality individuals cannot be morphologically discriminated when developing under good environmental conditions. Sub-optimal breeding conditions, in contrast, may unmask poor-quality individuals in a measurable way at the morphological level. We thus predict stronger associations between phenotype and performance under stress. In this field study, we test this hypothesis, experimentally challenging the homeostasis of great tit (Parus major) nestlings by short-term deprivation of parental care, which had no immediate effect on nestling fitness. The experiment was replicated during two subsequent breeding seasons with contrasting ambient weather conditions. Experimental (short-term) stress affected tarsus growth but not residual mass at fledging, whereas ambient (continuous) stress affected residual mass but not tarsus growth. Short-term stress effects on tarsus length and tarsus fluctuating asymmetry were only apparent when ambient conditions were unfavourable. Residual mass and hatching date, but none of the other phenotypic traits, predicted local survival, whereby the strength of the relationship did not vary between both years. Because effects of stress on developmental homeostasis are likely to be trait-specific and condition-dependent, studies on the use of phenotypic markers for individual fitness should integrate multiple traits comprising different levels of developmental complexity. © 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 100, 103,110. [source]