Skip to main content

Physiological proteins in resource-limited herbivores experiencing a population die-off

Author(s): Garnier, Romain; Bento, A.I.; Hansen, Christina B.; Pilkington, J.G.; Pemberton, J.M.; et al

To refer to this page use:
Abstract: Nutrient availability is predicted to interact with herbivore population densities. Competition for low quality food at high density may reduce summer food intake, and in turn winter survival. Conversely, low population density may favor physiological recovery through better access to better quality spring forage. Here, we take advantage of the long-term study of the Soay sheep population of St. Kilda (Scotland) to measure plasma protein markers and immunity in two consecutive summers with contrasting population densities. We show that, following a winter die-off resulting in a shift to low population density, albumin and total proteins increased, but only in adult sheep. The effect was not solely attributable to selective disappearance of malnourished sheep. Similarly, the concentration of antibodies was higher following the die-off, potentially indicating recovery of immune function. Overall, our results are consistent with the physiological recovery of surviving individuals after a harsh winter.
Publication Date: Aug-2017
Electronic Publication Date: 31-Jul-2017
Citation: Garnier, R., Bento, A.I., Hansen, C., Pilkington, J.G., Pemberton, J.M., Graham, A.L. (2017). Physiological proteins in resource-limited herbivores experiencing a population die-off. The Science of Nature, 104 (7-8), 10.1007/s00114-017-1490-4
DOI: doi:10.1007/s00114-017-1490-4
ISSN: 0028-1042
EISSN: 1432-1904
Pages: 1 - 5
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: The Science of Nature
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

Items in OAR@Princeton are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.