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ENSO affects sex ratio progeny in captive Iberian red deer despite a steady feeding regime

AutorEstévez, José A. ; Landete-Castillejos, Tomás ; García, Andrés J. ; Gaspar-López, E. ; Ceacero, Francisco ; Gallego, Laureano
Palabras claveOffspring
Fecha de publicación2011
CitaciónActa Theriologica 56(4): 323-328 (2011)
ResumenClimate variability greatly affects animals through direct and indirect effects. Animals with slow reproductive adaptation to ecological changes such as large mammals are likely to have evolved mechanisms to anticipate early such impacts of climate variability on the environment. One of the adaptive mechanisms between reproductive costs and benefits in mammals affects parental investment through biases in sex ratio. Deer might be likely to show an early detection of climate variability because conception takes place in early autumn, but the main raising cost in deer concerns lactation, which takes place at the end of the following spring. The aim of this paper is to assess whether there is a relationship between global indices of climate variability such as El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and sex ratio of a captive population of deer. Results showed that there was a negative correlation (r=-0. 65) between sex ratio and ENSO indices between 1996 and 2008. El Niño enhances drier conditions during the summer in the Iberia Peninsula, which in turn favours a female bias. Results also suggest that the mechanism of early detection of climate variability exerts a strong effect on female reproductive physiology because the long-term stability of food resources in our setting has not markedly reduced it.
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1007/s13364-011-0036-y
issn: 0001-7051
e-issn: 2190-3743
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