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Megaherbivores : The Influence of Very Large Body Size on Ecology - R.Norman Owen-Smith


The Influence of Very Large Body Size on Ecology

Paperback Published: 4th May 1992
ISBN: 9780521426374
Number Of Pages: 388

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The largest land mammals are constrained in their activities by their large body size, a theme that is emphasized in this account of their general ecology. The book begins by raising the question as to why these once abundant and widely distributed 'megaherbivores' - elephants, rhinos, hippos and giraffes - have all but gone extinct, and ends by considering the implications of the answer for the conservation of the remaining populations. Existing megaherbivores are placed in the context of the more numerous species which occurred worldwide until the end of the last Ice Age, and knowledge of the ecology of surviving species is used to analyse the cause of the extinctions. The information and ideas contained in this book are of crucial importance to all concerned with halting the rapidly worsening conservation status of remaining elephant and rhinoceros species, and carries a wider message for those concerned with the ramifying effects of man on ecosystem processes. Graduate students and research scientists in ecology, conservation biology and wildlife management will find this book of value.

Industry Reviews

"This book shows well how various elements of their biology are interrelated, transcending phylogenetic boundaries, a tribute to convergent evolution." Quarterly Review of Biology "This book deserves to be bought and widely read by all ecologists, paleobiologists, and wildlife managers with an interest in large animals." Journal of Animal Ecology ."..a model example of this ecological-role based comparative approach, as well as being a highly informative review of what is known about the extant megaherbivore species." John Damuth, Ecology

Prefacep. xiii
Prologuep. 1
Morphology, evolutionary history and recent distributionp. 6
Introductionp. 6
Morphologyp. 6
Evolutionary origins and relationshipsp. 16
Paleontological diversityp. 20
Distribution of extant speciesp. 21
Food and other habitat resourcesp. 30
Introductionp. 30
Foodp. 30
Water and other habitat needsp. 45
Comparisons with smaller ungulatesp. 50
Space--time patterns of habitat usep. 53
Introductionp. 53
Temporal patterning of activitiesp. 53
Utilization of spacep. 61
Comparisons with smaller ungulatesp. 67
Body size and nutritional physiologyp. 69
Introductionp. 69
Metabolic requirementsp. 70
Gut anatomyp. 71
Food intake and digestionp. 72
Body size and feeding ecologyp. 82
Introductionp. 82
Diet qualityp. 82
Foraging timep. 87
Home range extentp. 95
Trophic ecology of megaherbivores: summaryp. 98
Social organization and behaviorp. 101
Introductionp. 101
Group structurep. 101
Male dominance relationsp. 109
Courtship and matingp. 116
Responses to predatorsp. 124
Comparisons with smaller ungulatesp. 131
Life historyp. 133
Introductionp. 133
Infancy and juvenilehoodp. 133
Adolescence and pubertyp. 138
Reproduction by femalesp. 144
Reproduction by malesp. 151
Mortality and lifespanp. 152
Comparisons with smaller ungulatesp. 159
Body size and sociobiologyp. 160
Introductionp. 160
Grouping patternsp. 160
Male dominance systemsp. 167
Female mate choicep. 177
Summaryp. 179
Body size and reproductive patternsp. 181
Introductionp. 181
Seasonality of reproductionp. 183
Age at first conceptionp. 185
Birth intervalsp. 186
Maternal investment in reproductionp. 190
Offspring sex ratiop. 195
Summaryp. 198
Demographyp. 200
Introductionp. 200
Population structurep. 200
Population growthp. 212
Population density and biomassp. 221
Comparisons with smaller ungulatesp. 225
Community interactionsp. 226
Introductionp. 226
Impact on vegetationp. 226
Effects on other large herbivoresp. 239
Comparisons with smaller ungulatesp. 245
Body size and population regulationp. 246
Introductionp. 246
Demographic modelsp. 248
Interactions with vegetationp. 257
Dispersalp. 260
Summaryp. 264
Body size and ecosystem processesp. 265
Introductionp. 265
Biomass levelsp. 265
Energy fluxp. 274
Nutrient cyclingp. 277
Ecosystem stability and disturbancep. 278
Late Pleistocene extinctionsp. 280
Introductionp. 280
Pattern of extinctionsp. 281
Climatic changep. 284
Human predationp. 289
The role of megaherbivoresp. 292
Summaryp. 296
Conservationp. 297
Introductionp. 297
Conservation objectivesp. 298
Problems of overabundancep. 299
Problems of overexploitationp. 307
Summaryp. 308
Epilogue: the megaherbivore syndromep. 309
Faunal patternsp. 309
Social and life history patternsp. 312
Demographic patternsp. 313
Community and ecosystem patternsp. 314
Appendixesp. 317
Appendix Ip. 317
Appendix IIp. 325
Referencesp. 331
Indexp. 364
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521426374
ISBN-10: 0521426375
Series: Cambridge Studies in Ecology (Paperback)
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 388
Published: 4th May 1992
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.14 x 15.62  x 2.11
Weight (kg): 0.68