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Data from: Large scale variation in birth timing and synchrony of a large herbivore along the latitudinal and altitudinal gradients

Citation

Pelaez, Marta et al. (2020), Data from: Large scale variation in birth timing and synchrony of a large herbivore along the latitudinal and altitudinal gradients, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.z8w9ghx8g

Abstract

1. Hopkins’ Bioclimatic Law predicts geographic patterns in phenological timing by establishing a correspondence between latitudinal and altitudinal gradients. First proposed for key phenological events of plants, such as leaf sprouting or flowering dates, this law has rarely been used to assess the geographical equivalence of key life history traits of mammals.

2. We hypothesize that (H1) parturition dates of European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) are delayed and more synchronized at higher latitudes and altitudes, (H2) parturition timing varies along latitudinal and altitudinal gradients in a way that matches the Hopkins’ Bioclimatic Law, and (H3) females adjust parturition timing to match the period of high energy demand with peak resource availability.

3. We used parturition dates of 7,444 European roe deer from Switzerland to assess altitudinal variation in birth timing and synchrony from 288 to 2,366 m a.s.l. We then performed a literature survey to compare altitudinal results with those from different populations along the species’ latitudinal range of distribution. Finally, we performed spatial analysis combining our highly resolved altitudinal data on parturition dates with plant phenology data.

4. As expected, parturition dates were delayed with increasing latitude and altitude. This delay matched the Bioclimatic Law, as the effect of 1º increase in latitude was similar to 120 m increase in altitude. However, while parturitions were more synchronized with increasing altitude, we did not detect any trend along the latitudinal gradient. Finally, plant phenology explained altitudinal variation in parturition timing better than a linear effect of altitude.

5. Our findings clearly demonstrate the ability of a large herbivore to match parturition timing with phenological conditions across the altitudinal gradient, even at the smallest spatial scales. 

Methods

The species data were provided by courtesy of the Federal Office for the Environment.

Marta Pelaez. Author of code, analysis and literature review.
Departamento de Sistemas y Recursos Naturales, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Jean-Michel Gaillard. Author of analysis and literature review.
Université de Lyon, F-69000, Lyon, Université Lyon 1, CNRS, UMR5558, Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, F-69622, Villeurbanne, France
Kurt Bollmann. Author of species and environment data and provided input for the analysis.
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
Marco Heurich. Author of literature review and provided input for the analysis.
Wildlife Ecology and Wildlife Management, University of Freiburg, Tennenbacher Straße 4, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
Bavarian Forest National Park, Department of Visitor Management and National Park Monitoring, Freyunger Str. 2, 94481 Grafenau, Germany
Maik Rehnus. Author of species and environment data, provided input for the analysis and corresponding author. Email: maik.rehnus@wsl.ch.
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
 

Funding

Spanish Ministry of Education, Award: FPU13/00567

Spanish Ministry of Education, Award: EST16/00095