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Timing and synchrony of birth in Eurasian lynx across Europe

Mattisson, Jenny and Linnell, John D. C. and Anders, Ole and Belotti, Elisa and Breitenmoser-Würsten, Christine and Bufka, Ludek and Fuxjager, Christian and Heurich, Marco and Ivanov, Gjorge and Jedrzejewski, Wlodzimierz and Kont, Radio and Kowalczyk, Rafal and Krofel, Miha and Melovski, Dime and Mengulluoglu, Deniz and Middelhoff, Tomma Lilli and Molinari-Jobin, Anja and Odden, John and Ozolins, Janis and Okarma, Henryk and Persson, Jens and Schmidt, Krzysztof and Vogt, Kristina and Zimmermann, Fridolin and Andren, Henrik (2022). Timing and synchrony of birth in Eurasian lynx across Europe. Ecology and Evolution. 12 :8 , e9147
[Research article]

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Abstract

The ecology and evolution of reproductive timing and synchrony have been a topic of great interest in evolutionary ecology for decades. Originally motivated by questions related to behavioral and reproductive adaptation to environmental conditions, the topic has acquired new relevance in the face of climate change. However, there has been relatively little research on reproductive phenology in mammalian carnivores. The Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) occurs across the Eurasian continent, covering three of the four main climate regions of the world. Thus, their distribution includes a large variation in climatic conditions, making it an ideal species to explore reproductive phenology. Here, we used data on multiple reproductive events from 169 lynx females across Europe. Mean birth date was May 28 (April 23 to July 1), but was similar to 10 days later in northern Europe than in central and southern Europe. Birth dates were relatively synchronized across Europe, but more so in the north than in the south. Timing of birth was delayed by colder May temperatures. Severe and cold weather may affect neonatal survival via hypothermia and avoiding inclement weather early in the season may select against early births, especially at northern latitudes. Overall, only about half of the kittens born survived until onset of winter but whether kittens were born relatively late or early did not affect kitten survival. Lynx are strict seasonal breeders but still show a degree of flexibility to adapt the timing of birth to surrounding environmental conditions. We argue that lynx give birth later when exposed to colder spring temperatures and have more synchronized births when the window of favorable conditions for raising kittens is shorter. This suggests that lynx are well adapted to different environmental conditions, from dry and warm climates to alpine, boreal, and arctic climates. This variation in reproductive timing will be favorable in times of climate change, as organisms with high plasticity are more likely to adjust to new environmental conditions.

Authors/Creators:Mattisson, Jenny and Linnell, John D. C. and Anders, Ole and Belotti, Elisa and Breitenmoser-Würsten, Christine and Bufka, Ludek and Fuxjager, Christian and Heurich, Marco and Ivanov, Gjorge and Jedrzejewski, Wlodzimierz and Kont, Radio and Kowalczyk, Rafal and Krofel, Miha and Melovski, Dime and Mengulluoglu, Deniz and Middelhoff, Tomma Lilli and Molinari-Jobin, Anja and Odden, John and Ozolins, Janis and Okarma, Henryk and Persson, Jens and Schmidt, Krzysztof and Vogt, Kristina and Zimmermann, Fridolin and Andren, Henrik
Title:Timing and synchrony of birth in Eurasian lynx across Europe
Series Name/Journal:Ecology and Evolution
Year of publishing :2022
Volume:12
Number:8
Article number:e9147
Number of Pages:13
Publisher:WILEY
ISSN:2045-7758
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 403 Veterinary Science > Clinical Science
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 405 Other Agricultural Sciences > Fish and Wildlife Management
Keywords:carnivore, demography, Lynx lynx, reproductive phenology
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-118583
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-118583
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1002/ece3.9147
Web of Science (WoS)000833918600001
ID Code:28642
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:30 Aug 2022 10:50
Metadata Last Modified:30 Aug 2022 10:51

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