The allometry of food intake in grazing ruminants

Illius, A.W., and Gordon, I.J. (1987) The allometry of food intake in grazing ruminants. Journal of Animal Ecology, 56 (3). pp. 989-999.

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Abstract

(1) A simulation model of grazing mechanics in ruminants shows that, due to the allometric relations of bite size and metabolic requirements to body size, small animals are able to subsist on shorter swards than large animals.

(2) The density of nutrients in the grazed horizon of the modelled swards markedly affected the ability of animals of a given body size to satisfy their energy requirements.

(3) By extension, the allometric relationships would be expected to apply in selective grazing and browsing species in their choice of food items of different size and nutrient content.

(4) The results support the argument that sexual segregation and habitat choice of dimorphic species is an effect of scramble competition for limited resources, the males thus being excluded from mutually preferred swards.

(5) The model provides an explanation for two interspecific phenomena amongst grazers: grazing succession and grazing facilitation.

Item ID: 42652
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2656
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 07:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060806 Animal Physiological Ecology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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