ISSN: 1578-665X | e-ISSN: 2014-928X An international journal devoted to the study and conservation of animal biodiversity, open-access, free for authors, driven by a fast-paced editorial process that includes assessment by experts. It is published twice a year.

Assessing senescence patterns in populations of large mammals

Gaillard, J.-M.  Viallefont, A.  Loison, A.  Festa-Bianchet, M. 

Abstract

Theoretical models such as those of Gompertz and Weibull are commonly used to study senescence in survival for humans and laboratory or captive animals. For wild populations of vertebrates, senescence in survival has more commonly been assessed by fitting simple linear or quadratic relationships between survival and age. By using appropriate constraints on survival parameters in Capture-Mark-Recapture (CMR) models, we propose a first analysis of the suitability of the Gompertz and the two-parameter Weibull models for describing aging-related mortality in free-ranging populations of ungulates. We first show how to handle the Gompertz and the two-parameter Weibull models in the context of CMR analyses. Then we perform a comparative analysis of senescence patterns in both sexes of two ungulate species highly contrasted according to the intensity of sexual selection. Our analyses provide support to the Gompertz model for describing senescence patterns in ungulates. Evolutionary implications of our results are discussed

Key words

Gompertz model, Two-parameter Weibull model, Ungulates, Survival, Life history, Sexual selection

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