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Getting the timing right: Antler growth phenology and sexual selection in a wild red deer population

Clements, Michelle N.; Clutton-Brock, Tim H; Albon, Steve D.; Pemberton, Josephine M; Kruuk, Loeske

Description

There has been growing interest in the determinants of the annual timing of biological phenomena, or phenology, in wild populations, but research on vertebrate taxa has primarily focused on the phenology of reproduction. We present here analyses of the phenology of the annual growth of a secondary sexual characteristic, antlers in red deer (Cervus elaphus) males. The long-term individual-based data from a wild population of red deer on the Isle of Rum, Scotland allow us to consider ecological...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorClements, Michelle N.
dc.contributor.authorClutton-Brock, Tim H
dc.contributor.authorAlbon, Steve D.
dc.contributor.authorPemberton, Josephine M
dc.contributor.authorKruuk, Loeske
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T22:50:42Z
dc.identifier.issn0029-8549
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/80913
dc.description.abstractThere has been growing interest in the determinants of the annual timing of biological phenomena, or phenology, in wild populations, but research on vertebrate taxa has primarily focused on the phenology of reproduction. We present here analyses of the phenology of the annual growth of a secondary sexual characteristic, antlers in red deer (Cervus elaphus) males. The long-term individual-based data from a wild population of red deer on the Isle of Rum, Scotland allow us to consider ecological factors influencing variation in the phenology of growth of antlers, and the implications of variation in antler growth phenology with respect to the phenotype of antler grown (antler mass) and annual breeding success. The phenology of antler growth was influenced by local environmental conditions: higher population density delayed both the start date (during spring) and the relative end date (in late summer) of antler growth, and warmer temperatures in the September and April prior to growth advanced start and end dates, respectively. Furthermore, there was variation between individuals in this phenotypic plasticity of start date, although not in that of end date of growth. The phenology of antler growth impacted on the morphology of antlers grown, with individuals who started and ended growth earliest having the heaviest antlers. The timing of antler growth phenology was associated with breeding success in the following mating season, independently of the mass of antlers grown: an earlier start of antler growth was associated with siring a higher number of the calves born the following spring. Our results suggest that the phenology of traits that are not directly correlated with offspring survival may also regularly show correlations with fitness.
dc.publisherSpringer
dc.sourceOecologia
dc.subjectKeywords: breeding season; deer; environmental conditions; fitness; growth response; male; phenology; phenotypic plasticity; population density; population distribution; reproductive success; secondary sexual characteristics; sexual selection; wild population; age; Mixed models; Phenology; Phenotypic plasticity; Sexual selection; Ungulate
dc.titleGetting the timing right: Antler growth phenology and sexual selection in a wild red deer population
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume164
dc.date.issued2010
local.identifier.absfor060306 - Evolutionary Impacts of Climate Change
local.identifier.ariespublicationf5625xPUB9219
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationClements, Michelle N., University of Edinburgh
local.contributor.affiliationClutton-Brock, Tim H, University of Cambridge
local.contributor.affiliationAlbon, Steve D., Macaulay Land Use Research Institute
local.contributor.affiliationPemberton, Josephine M, University of Edinburgh
local.contributor.affiliationKruuk, Loeske, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue2
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage357
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage368
local.identifier.doi10.1007/s00442-010-1656-7
local.identifier.absseo970106 - Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
dc.date.updated2016-02-24T09:45:18Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-77956651463
local.identifier.thomsonID000281860700008
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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