Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 452729
Title Too hot for grazers: the effect of climate change on the distribution of medium-sized grazers
Author(s) Bie, S. de; Prins, H.H.T.; Shrestha, A.K.; Wieren, S.E. van
Source In: 12th Savanna Science Network Meeting, Kruger National Park, 9-13 March 2013, Skukuza, South Africa. - South African National Parks, Scientific Services - p. 30 - 30.
Event 12th Savanna Science Network Meeting, Skukuza, South Africa, 2014-03-10/2014-03-14
Department(s) Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
PE&RC
Publication type Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings
Publication year 2014
Abstract Body size matters and according to Bergmann’s rule species of larger size are found in colder environments and species within the same genus but of smaller size, in warmer areas. To understand the adaptive capacity of blue wildebeest in response of a changing climate, we investigated the variation in core body temperature (Tb) using abdominally implanted thermal loggers in two climatically different areas in South Africa. Wildebeest in the hot, dry savanna environment(less seasonal and mild winter) showed a higher variability in the 24-hour Tb amplitude and a lower minimum Tb during winter and spring than wildebeest in the area with a more seasonal, cold and long winter.This variation in Tb amplitude was positively correlated with the amplitude of ambient temperature and negatively with rainfall. We conclude that this larger variation in 24-hour amplitude and lower minimum Tb are the result of nutritional stress experienced by wildebeest in the hot environment: because of less available quality forage, animals are less able to maintain their body temperature. We predict that when climate in Africa become hotter and drier, medium-sized grazers are likely to be affected in terms of reproduction and distribution. For larger grazers, nutritional thresholds are lower while smaller grazers are more selective due to their narrow muzzles. Consequently both categories are able to better cope with the changing climate than medium-sized grazers as they are able to meet their nutritional requirements. This should have implications for long-term conservation of such species in Southern African national parks.
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