Reproduction and Growth
In most ecosystems, the nutrients available to large herbivores are inadequate for reproduction and growth for part of the year (e.g., Jarman and Sinclair 1979). The most costly of these processes, lactation, is usually timed to coincide with the growing season of the plants. Animals often lay down nutrient reserves, which they draw on for survival during the non-growing season (e.g., Caughley 1970b, Mitchell et al. 1976). During the growing season, reproductive processes such as lactation may therefore compete for nutrients with the animals’ body reserves unless rates of nutrient assimilation are high. In individuals that breed before they have stopped growing, which is often the case in large herbivores, there will be added nutrient requirements for the mother’s own growth.
KeywordsNeonatal Mortality Large Herbivore Pelvic Bone Lifetime Reproductive Success Body Reserve
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