Senescence in breeding success of female Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra)

the role of female quality and age

Federico Tettamanti, Stefano Grignolio, Flurin Filli, Marco Apollonio, Pierre Bize

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although numerous studies have reported reproductive senescence in wild animal populations, we still know very little on inter-individual differences in rates of ageing and on the factors accounting for these differences. To investigate age-related variation in breeding success in a natural population of Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), we used 15 years of data obtained by monitoring individual ear-tagged females. Analyses at the population level confirmed the occurrence of a decline in female breeding success, which is most noticeable from 9 years of age onward. Using an age-reverse approach, we showed that senescence in female breeding success occurs at the same age, since only very old individuals (older than 16 years) showed a decline in breeding success in the years preceding death. Interestingly, we also found evidence that 'success comes from success', as females that gave birth in a given year were more likely to procreate again in the following year. Moreover, results showed that discrepancies between successful and unsuccessful individuals tend to become more relevant in the oldest age classes. There was no evidence of a terminal allocation. These results emphasize the importance of age-dependent effects and individual quality in shaping reproductive senescence in a wild long-lived ungulate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-195
Number of pages9
JournalOecologia
Volume178
Issue number1
Early online date6 Jan 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

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chamois
senescence
reproductive success
breeding
ungulate
wild animals
ungulates
age class
age structure
ears
death
monitoring

Keywords

  • ageing
  • age dependency
  • longevity
  • individual quality
  • mammal

Cite this

Senescence in breeding success of female Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) : the role of female quality and age. / Tettamanti, Federico; Grignolio, Stefano; Filli, Flurin; Apollonio, Marco; Bize, Pierre.

In: Oecologia, Vol. 178, No. 1, 05.2015, p. 187-195.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tettamanti, Federico ; Grignolio, Stefano ; Filli, Flurin ; Apollonio, Marco ; Bize, Pierre. / Senescence in breeding success of female Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) : the role of female quality and age. In: Oecologia. 2015 ; Vol. 178, No. 1. pp. 187-195.
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abstract = "Although numerous studies have reported reproductive senescence in wild animal populations, we still know very little on inter-individual differences in rates of ageing and on the factors accounting for these differences. To investigate age-related variation in breeding success in a natural population of Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), we used 15 years of data obtained by monitoring individual ear-tagged females. Analyses at the population level confirmed the occurrence of a decline in female breeding success, which is most noticeable from 9 years of age onward. Using an age-reverse approach, we showed that senescence in female breeding success occurs at the same age, since only very old individuals (older than 16 years) showed a decline in breeding success in the years preceding death. Interestingly, we also found evidence that 'success comes from success', as females that gave birth in a given year were more likely to procreate again in the following year. Moreover, results showed that discrepancies between successful and unsuccessful individuals tend to become more relevant in the oldest age classes. There was no evidence of a terminal allocation. These results emphasize the importance of age-dependent effects and individual quality in shaping reproductive senescence in a wild long-lived ungulate.",
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N1 - Acknowledgments We are grateful to all the park rangers of the Swiss National Park, especially Fadri Bott, for their work on marking and re-sighting chamois. This project was partially supported by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (PRIN 2010-2011, 20108 TZKHC). F. T. was the recipient of a PhD fellowship from the University of Sassari. S. G. had the support of the P.O.R. F.S.E. 2007-2013—Obiettivo competitività regionale e occupazione. Asse IV Capitale umano—Linea di attività 1.3.1 fund. We are grateful to Jean-Michel Gaillard, Marco Festa-Bianchet and an anonymous referee for their helpful suggestions on the paper. The English version was edited by G. Falceri.

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