Oecologia

, Volume 128, Issue 3, pp 400–405

Population density and small-scale variation in habitat quality affect phenotypic quality in roe deer

  • Nathalie Pettorelli
  • Jean-Michel Gaillard
  • Patrick Duncan
  • Jean-Pierre Ouellet
  • Guy Van Laere
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s004420100682

Cite this article as:
Pettorelli, N., Gaillard, JM., Duncan, P. et al. Oecologia (2001) 128: 400. doi:10.1007/s004420100682

Abstract.

We tested for fine-scale spatial heterogeneity in habitat quality in a roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) population in the Chizé reserve located in western France by measuring spatial variation in the availability and plant nitrogen content of principal and preferred plant species. There were significant differences in habitat quality within the reserve: the principal food plants in spring and summer occurred more frequently in the oak woodland in the north than in the beech woodland in the south of the reserve. Within species, plants in the north had higher nitrogen contents than in the south. There was a positive spatial covariation between habitat quality, local density and fawn body weight: animal densities and fawn body weights were highest in the north, the best habitat (i.e. the habitat with more abundant food of higher quality). These results differ from those recently obtained on red deer (Cervus elaphus). We suggest that spatial organization and foraging behaviour must be accounted for when considering the effect of habitat quality on individual fitness of ungulates.

Food resources Individual variability Nitrogen content Ideal free distribution Spatial heterogeneity Ungulates 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathalie Pettorelli
    • 1
  • Jean-Michel Gaillard
    • 1
  • Patrick Duncan
    • 2
  • Jean-Pierre Ouellet
    • 3
  • Guy Van Laere
    • 4
  1. 1.Unité Mixte de Recherche No. 5558 "Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive", Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, 43 Boulevard du 11 novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbanne CedexFrance
  2. 2.Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, CNRS UPR 1934, 79360 Beauvoir-sur-NiortFrance
  3. 3.Département de Biologie, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 300 Allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, Québec, G5L 3A1Canada
  4. 4.Office National de la Chasse, Direction de la Recherche et du Développement, 85bis Avenue de Wagram, 75017 ParisFrance

Personalised recommendations