Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Oldest Sheep Contribute Most To Population Growth When Climate Changes Making Conditions Harsh

Date:
September 11, 2008
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Researchers show how sheep on a remote island off the west coast of Scotland respond to two consequences of climate change: altered food availability and the unpredictability of winter storms. When times are good, lambs contribute almost twice as much to population size. The oldest sheep contribute most to population growth when conditions are harsh. New mathematical breakthroughs have made it possible to learn how individuals affect population dynamics in rapidly changing environments.

Oldest sheep make larger contributions to population growth when conditions are harsh.
Credit: Owen Jones

Populations of wild animals face the challenge of surviving in a changing climate. Researchers at Imperial College London and Universitι Claude Bernard Lyon have shown how a sheep population on a remote island off the west coast of Scotland responds to two consequences of climate change: altered food availability and the unpredictability of winter storms.

Dr. Thomas Ezard, lead author of the study, revealed, "When times are good and food is plentiful, lambs contribute almost twice as much to changes in population size than when times are hard. On the flip side, the oldest sheep contribute most to population growth when conditions are harsh."

The work suggests that the dynamics of populations are influenced not only by the weather but also by the ability of individuals to respond to it.

New mathematical breakthroughs have made it possible to show how environmental change affects populations, like these sheep.

The key is appreciating

  1. how weather affects individual sheep and
  2. how the weather changes from one year to the next.

If consecutive years have similar weather, the dynamics of the population will be very different than if conditions are unrelated from one year to the next.

Professor Tim Coulson concluded, "A thorough understanding of the likely effects of climate change on the ecology of wild populations requires linking populations to their environment. This demands application of innovative mathematical methods, as used here."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Oldest Sheep Contribute Most To Population Growth When Climate Changes Making Conditions Harsh." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080905153847.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2008, September 11). Oldest Sheep Contribute Most To Population Growth When Climate Changes Making Conditions Harsh. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080905153847.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Oldest Sheep Contribute Most To Population Growth When Climate Changes Making Conditions Harsh." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080905153847.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pakistan's 'killer Mountain' Fails to Draw Tourists After Attack

Pakistan's 'killer Mountain' Fails to Draw Tourists After Attack

AFP (Sep. 12, 2014) — In June 2013, 10 foreign mountaineers and their guide were murdered on Nanga Parbat, an iconic peak that stands at 8,126m tall in northern Pakisan. Duration: 02:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Storm To Hit This Weekend, Scientists Not Worried

Solar Storm To Hit This Weekend, Scientists Not Worried

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — Two solar flares which erupted in our direction this week will arrive this weekend. The resulting solar storm will be powerful but not dangerous. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Ozone Layer Is Recovering, But It's Not All Good News

The Ozone Layer Is Recovering, But It's Not All Good News

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — The Ozone layer is recovering thickness! Hooray! But in helping its recovery, we may have also helped put more greenhouse gases out there. Hooray? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins