The influence of habitat on body size and tooth wear in Scottish red deer (Cervus elaphus)

Pérez-Barbería, F.J., Ramsay, S.L., Hooper, R.J., Pérez-Fernández, E., Robertson, A.H.J, Aldezabal, A., Goddard, P., and Gordon, I.J. (2015) The influence of habitat on body size and tooth wear in Scottish red deer (Cervus elaphus). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 93 (1). pp. 61-70.

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Abstract

Body size has profound implications for ecology and life-history traits of mammalian species. Tooth wear is an indicator of food-processing investment and diet properties, with fitness consequences through differences in comminution efficiency, nutrient gain, and senescence. We investigate the relationships between mandible length (a proxy of skeletal body size), molar dentine thickness (a measure of tooth wear), and faecal neutral detergent fibre with residual ash (NDF-ash, a combined proxy of fibre and mineral components in the diet) in 874 male and female red deer (Cervus elaphus L., 1758) from 21 locations in moorland and woodland habitats across Scotland. Significant differences in mandible length occurred between habitats: woodland deer having larger mandibles than moorland deer. Within habitats, larger mandibles were related to higher rates of dentine wear, suggesting increased body size was associated with greater intake and processing of food. Both dentine wear and faecal NDF-ash were higher in moorland deer than in woodland deer, suggesting that fibre and (or) mineral abrasives in the diet may have contributed towards habitat differences in dentine wear. Between habitats, higher dentine wear was not associated with larger mandibles, in contrast to the relationship within habitats, indicating the precedence of additional environmental factors between habitats.

Item ID: 42438
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1480-3283
Keywords: age, Cervus elaphus, diet, faecal ash, faecal fibre, moorland, red deer, senescence, tooth wear, woodland
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Corrigendum: Canadian Journal of Zoology, 2015, 93(3): 249, 10.1139/cjz-2015-0042.

Published corrigendum inserted at the end of PDF document to correct mistakes made on pages 62-64: Figure 2 and related text.

Corrigendum published as: Canadian Journal of Zoology 93 (3): 249 (2015) [see related URL field]

Funders: Scottish Government's Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Department of Education, Universities and Research of the Basque Government
Projects and Grants: k-Egokitzen07, Unesco07/07
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2016 15:12
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960811 Sparseland, Permanent Grassland and Arid Zone Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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