Climate, food, density and wildlife population growth rate

Jim Hone, Tim H. Clutton-Brock

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    51 Citations (Scopus)


    The aim of this study was to derive and evaluate a priori models of the relationship between annual instantaneous population growth rate (r) and climate. These were derived from the numerical response of annual r and food, and the effect of climate on a parameter in the numerical response. The goodness of fit of a range of such deductive models to data on annual r of Soay sheep and red deer were evaluated using information-theoretic (AICc-based) analyses.2The analysis for sheep annual r showed negative effects of abundance and negative effects of the interaction of abundance and climate, measured as March rainfall (and winter NAO) in the best fitting models. The analysis for deer annual r showed a negative effect of deer abundance and a positive effect of climate measured as March rainfall (but a negative effect of winter NAO), but no interaction of abundance and climate in the best fitting models.3There was most support in the analysis of sheep dynamics for the ratio numerical response and the assumption that parameter J (equilibrium food per animal) was influenced by climate. In the analysis of deer dynamics there was most support for the numerical responses assuming effects of food and density (Ivlev and density, food and density, and additive responses) and slightly less support for the ratio numerical response. The evaluation of such models would be aided by the collection of and incorporation of food data into the analyses
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)361-367
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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