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Experimental evidence for homeostatic sex allocation after sex-biased reintroductions

Nature Ecology & Evolution volume 1, Article number: 0088 (2017) | Download Citation

Abstract

First principles predict negative frequency-dependent sex allocation, but it is unproven in field studies and seldom considered, despite far-reaching consequences for theory and practice in population genetics and dynamics as well as animal ecology and behaviour. Twenty-four years of rhinoceros calving after 45 reintroductions across southern Africa provide the first in situ experimental evidence that unbalanced operational sex ratios predicted offspring sex and offspring sex ratios. Our understanding of population dynamics, especially reintroduction and invasion biology, will be significantly impacted by these findings.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by granted funds from the US Fish & Wildlife Service administered Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994 (grant agreement numbers 98210-2-G363, 98210-4-G920 and 98210-6-G102), International Rhino Foundation, Victoria University of Wellington, and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Our thanks to K. Adcock, G. Kerley and M. Knight.

Author information

Author notes

    • Jay Vinson Gedir

    Present address: Department of Fish, Wildlife & Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003, USA.

Affiliations

  1. Centre for Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington 6021, Wellington, New Zealand

    • Wayne Leslie Linklater
    •  & Jay Vinson Gedir
  2. Centre for African Conservation Ecology, Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth 6031, South Africa

    • Wayne Leslie Linklater
    •  & Peter Roy Law
  3. Directorate of Scientific Services, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Private Bag 13306, Windhoek, Namibia

    • Pierre du Preez

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Contributions

W.L.L. conceived the project; P.d.P. administered the programs that gathered the raw data from Namibian populations; W.L.L. and J.V.G. collated and conducted quality assurance of data; W.L.L., P.R.L. and J.V.G. conducted and interpreted analyses; W.L.L. wrote the first draft of the manuscript and all authors contributed to revisions.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Wayne Leslie Linklater.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0088