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Data from: Effects of aging on timing of hibernation and reproduction


Bieber, Claudia; Turbill, Christopher; Ruf, Thomas (2019), Data from: Effects of aging on timing of hibernation and reproduction, Dryad, Dataset,


Small hibernators are long-lived for their size because seasonal dormancy greatly reduces predation risk. Thus, within a year, hibernators switch between states of contrasting mortality risk (active season versus hibernation), making them interesting species for testing the predictions of life-history theory. Accordingly, we hypothesized that, with advancing age and hence diminishing reproductive potential, hibernators should increasingly accept the higher predation risk associated with activity to increase the likelihood of current reproductive success. For edible dormice (Glis glis) we show that age strongly affects hibernation/activity patterns, and that this occurs via two pathways: (i) with increasing age, dormice are more likely to reproduce, which delays the onset of hibernation, and (ii) age directly advances emergence from hibernation in spring. We conclude that hibernation has to be viewed not merely as an energy saving strategy under harsh climatic conditions, but as an age-affected life-history trait that is flexibly used to maximize fitness.

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