Timing of Reproduction in Large Mammals

Climatic and density-dependent influences
  • Eric Post
Part of the Tasks for Vegetation Science book series (TAVS, volume 39)


This discussion of the reproductive phenology of mammals will focus on large herbivores, sometimes referred to as ruminants or ungulates. Large herbivores have been a major focus of theoretical and empirical studies of the influences of biotic and abiotic factors on reproductive phenology since the pioneering study by (1976) on breeding synchrony in wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus). The examples used in this chapter derive mainly from multi-annual studies of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) and moose (Alces alces) in arctic and sub-arctic environments, and red deer (Cervus elaphus) on the north-temperate Isle of Rhum, Scotland. The former two species illustrate the influences of abiotic (i.e., climatic) factors on reproductive phenology, while the latter illustrates with striking clarity the influence of population density on timing of calving.

Key words

Caribou Mammals North Atlantic Oscillation Red deer Seasonality 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Post
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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