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 August 21, 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 August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers

California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) — California's record drought is hurting honey supplies and raising prices for consumers. The lack of rainfall means fewer crops and wildflowers that provide the nectar bees need to make honey. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Species Found In Lake Under Antarctic Ice

Thousands Of Species Found In Lake Under Antarctic Ice

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A U.S. team found nearly 4,000 species in a subglacial lake that hasn't seen sunlight in millennia, showing life can thrive even under the ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — Poachers have killed 100,000 elephants between 2010 and 2012, as the booming ivory trade takes its toll on the animals in Africa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
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