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Dryad

Data from: Maternal effects and the legacy of extreme environmental events for wild mammals

Cite this dataset

LaSharr, Tayler (2022). Data from: Maternal effects and the legacy of extreme environmental events for wild mammals [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0rxwdbs3b

Abstract

Nutrition underpins population dynamics of large herbivores. The environmental, physiological, and nutritional state of a mother can have a lifetime effect on her offspring. For ungulates, nutrition of the mother during gestation can have an important and often underappreciated effect on the lifetime phenotype, behavior, and success of her offspring. Research in captive settings has shown even with animals that are closely related (i.e., have similar genetic makeups), maternal condition can have serious lifetime implications for an animal’s offspring; mothers in poor condition give birth to sons that exhibit stunted growth compared with sons born to mothers in good condition. Yet, identifying the role of maternal effects in wild animals can be difficult. It requires information on the nutritional legacy of a mother in combination with information on current environmental conditions.

We evaluated how nutrition of a mother potentially affected her male offspring's lifetime trajectory using ingesta-free body fat measurements of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in the Wyoming Range of western Wyoming, USA. Following a very harsh winter, one female gave birth to a male who remained small for the entirety of his lifetime, which may be attributed to the nutritional stress his mother experienced during that winter. This dataset includes the means and standard errors of IFBFat for female deer captured in March from 2013–2021 and for male deer captured in December from 2018–2021.

Methods

Nutritional condition of individuals was determined using developed protocols for mule deer which include measuring subcutaneous rump fat via ultrasonography and body palpation to estimate a body condition score (Stephenson et al. 2002; Cook et al. 2007). Using body mass, body condition score, and maximum thickness of rump fat via ultrasonography, we then estimated ingesta-free body fat (i.e., IFBFat) for all individuals (Cook et al. 2010).

This dataset includes the means and standard errors of IFBFat for female deer captured in March from 2013–2021 and for male deer captured in December from 2018–2021.

  • Cook, R. C., Stephenson, T. R., Myers, W. L., Cook, J. G., & Shipley, L. A. (2007). Validating Predictive Models of Nutritional Condition for Mule Deer. Journal of Wildlife Management, 71(6). https://doi.org/10.2193/2006-262
  • Stephenson, T. R., Bleich, V. C., Pierce, B. M., & Mulcahy, G. P. (2002). Validation of mule deer body composition using in vivo and post-mortem indices of nutritional condition. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 30(2), 557–564.

Funding

University of Wyoming