Ecological change, group territoriality, and population dynamics in Serengeti lions

Packer, C., Hilborn, R., Mosser, A., Kissui, B., Borner, M., Hopcraft, J.G.C. , Wilmshurst, J., Mduma, S. and Sinclair, A.R.E. (2005) Ecological change, group territoriality, and population dynamics in Serengeti lions. Science, 307(5708), pp. 390-393. (doi: 10.1126/science.1105122)

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Abstract

Territorial behavior is expected to buffer populations against short-term environmental perturbations, but we have found that group living in African lions causes a complex response to long-term ecological change. Despite numerous gradual changes in prey availability and vegetative cover, regional populations of Serengeti lions remained stable for 10- to 20-year periods and only shifted to new equilibria in sudden leaps. Although gradually improving environmental conditions provided sufficient resources to permit the subdivision of preexisting territories, regional lion populations did not expand until short-term conditions supplied enough prey to generate large cohorts of surviving young. The results of a simulation model show that the observed pattern of “saltatory equilibria” results from the lions' grouping behavior.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Borner, Dr Markus and Hopcraft, Dr Grant
Authors: Packer, C., Hilborn, R., Mosser, A., Kissui, B., Borner, M., Hopcraft, J.G.C., Wilmshurst, J., Mduma, S., and Sinclair, A.R.E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Science
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:0036-8075
ISSN (Online):1095-9203

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