Jul 19, 2017

Hot dogs: High ambient temperatures impact reproductive success in a tropical carnivore

by
Woodroffe, Rosie, Groom, Rosemary, McNutt, J. Weldon
,
Journal of Animal Ecology
  • States that while ecologists have mostly explored indirect effects of rising ambient temperatures on temperate and polar species, physiologists have predicted direct impacts on tropical species
  • Predicts that African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) populations might be sensitive to weather conditions, because the species shows strongly seasonal reproduction across most of its geographical range
  • Explores associations between weather conditions, reproductive costs, and reproductive success, drawing on long-term wild dog monitoring data from sites in Botswana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe
  • Finds that high ambient temperatures were associated with reduced foraging time, especially during the energetically costly pup-rearing period
  • Finds that across all three sites, packs which reared pups at high ambient temperatures produced fewer recruits than did those rearing pups in cooler weather
  • Results show that over time, rising ambient temperatures at the (longest-monitored) Botswana site coincided with falling wild dog recruitment
  • Findings indicate this species may be highly vulnerable to climate change