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Influence of environmental conditions on sex allocation in the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis minor) population of Mkhuze Game Reserve, South Africa

Title:

Influence of environmental conditions on sex allocation in the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis minor) population of Mkhuze Game Reserve, South Africa

Laflamme-Mayer, Karine (2010) Influence of environmental conditions on sex allocation in the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis minor) population of Mkhuze Game Reserve, South Africa. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The Trivers and Willard hypothesis (1973) states that in a species where reproductive success is more variable in one sex, natural selection could lead to females having the ability to bias the sex allocation of her offspring according to her body condition. The extrinsic modification hypothesis (EMH) recently suggested that offspring sex can also be influenced by environmental conditions experienced by mothers. I investigated the influence of rainfall, population size, vegetation type and burning history, in the year prior to conception and during pregnancy, on sex allocation in the black rhinoceros ( Diceros bicornis minor ) population of Mkhuze Game Reserve, South Africa. I found that increases in rainfall and population size during preconception and pregnancy decrease the probability of having a female calf. The results also show that the frequency of burn and the elapsed time since the last burn of the area used prior to conception have a positive influence on the probability of having a female calf. Vegetation type in the area used by mother rhinos during preconception and pregnancy did not influence sex allocation. In conclusion, I found that environmental conditions may influence sex allocation in the black rhinoceros, thereby supporting the EMH. This knowledge can be applied to improve population structure assessments and management, especially in enclosed reserves, which is essential to maintain the productivity of endangered species.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Biology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Laflamme-Mayer, Karine
Pagination:ix, 44 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Program:Biology
Date:2010
Thesis Supervisor(s):Weladji, Robert
ID Code:979400
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:09 Dec 2014 17:58
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:49
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