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
Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF
Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences
19.07.2018 | Life Sciences