Journal of Mammalogy – Most mammal reproduction studies aim to not only discover who the fathers are but also to learn why some males sire more offspring than others. This is complicated since many male animals, including American bison, mate with multiple females, making it difficult to estimate which males will be the most successful at passing on their genes.
The current issue of the Journal of Mammalogy reports on a study of the bison herd at Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Nebraska.
Over 8 years, the authors observed the behavior of breeding bison and tested the genes of newborn calves to determine whether their observations matched the proven paternity.
The contribution made by male and female mammals to the next generation’s gene pool is often measured by counting the surviving offspring. However, when males roam widely and mate with multiple females, offspring numbers only reflect the reproductive success of the females. Genetic testing proves paternity but can be difficult and expensive.
Thus, many researchers observe behavior during the mating period and then estimate the males’ success at siring offspring. More research is needed on whether these estimates accurately predict which genes are passed on.
The authors of the current study looked at the behavior of American bison during the breeding period over several years. They then collected tissue samples of calves born the next year and ran genetic tests. The results were analyzed to see whether the genetic data matched the rutting bulls seen the previous year.
Overall, estimates of mating success proved to accurately predict the number of births in the herd the next year. However, individual success rates were less accurate; the actual number of offspring sired by individual males was far lower than what the authors expected based on their observations.
Of the copulations they saw, 44% did not lead to a birth. In addition, 60% of the newborn calves proved to be fathered by bulls different from those believed to be responsible for the pregnancy. The probability of siring offspring was based on several factors, including total copulations per season, the dominance of the bull, and the age of the bull or cow. As expected, the more times a bull mated, the more likely he was to be successful in reproducing his genes.
The authors concluded that observing a mating couple was not enough to predict the paternity of the calf born to the cow the following year. Genetic data alone also did not give a complete picture of reproductive success in the herd.
They argue that both genetic testing and observation of mating behavior are necessary to understand sexual selection and how it affects a species.
Full text of the article “Behavioral versus genetic measures of fitness in bison bulls (Bison bison),” Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 95, No. 5, 2014, is now available.
About the Journal of Mammalogy
The Journal of Mammalogy, the flagship publication of the American Society of Mammalogists, is produced six times per year. A highly respected scientific journal, it details the latest research in the science of mammalogy and was recently named one of the top 100 most influential journals of biology and medicine in the last century by the Special Libraries Association. For more information, visit http://www.mammalogy.org/
Allen Press, Inc.
800/627-0326 ext. 410
Jason Snell | Allen Press
Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH
Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences