Document Detail

Dispersal in relation to carrying capacity.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16592536     Owner:  NLM     Status:  PubMed-not-MEDLINE    
Dispersal of the herbivorous vole Microtus pennsylvanicus from grassland to woodland was studied in an experimental field system during spring to autumn 1969. Dispersal first occurred when there was at least 100 times more energy available than was required by the population. Sodium and phosphorus were in short supply in the food. By feeding selectively or copiously, voles could make up nutrient deficits and still consume only 10% of what was available. However, calculations show that depletion of the food was potentially severe in the forthcoming winter; consumption of energy- and nutrient-sufficient food had the potential of approaching 100%. These results suggest the following explanation of presaturation dispersal. Nutrients may be more limiting to herbivores than is total energy. Selective or copious harvesting becomes increasingly necessary as density increases. Natural selection, acting upon known genetic variation in dispersal propensity, has favored a dispersal response to environmental conditions that presage food shortage. Aggressive behavior and other forms of interactive behavior are the means by which land-tenured breeding individuals control their access to food resources and by which nontenured individuals are excluded and induced to disperse. Herbivore populations in general are limited well below carrying capacity. Carrying capacity may have been overestimated by ignoring chemical quality of the food, but the relationship is still probably true. The above explanation helps us to understand it. Because animals need to feed selectively, exploitation is based on cost-benefit balances and is less than total.
P R Grant
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  75     ISSN:  0027-8424     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  1978 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-06-29     Completed Date:  2010-06-29     Revised Date:  2010-09-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  2854-8     Citation Subset:  -    
Biology Department, McGill University, 1205 McGregor St., Montreal, Quebec H3A 1B1, Canada.
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