[MARMAM] New article examining link between foraging success and fitness

Keith Hernandez keith.hernandez2011 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 9 11:41:17 PST 2023

Hi MARMAM community,

On behalf of my co-authors I am excited to share our new publication in
Ecology Letters, available Open Access at the following link:

Beltran R. S., Hernandez K. M., Condit R., Robinson P. W., Crocker D. E.,
Goetsch C., Kilpatrick A. M., Costa D. P. (2023) Physiological tipping
points in the relationship between foraging success and lifetime fitness of
a long-lived mammal. Ecology Letters

Abstract: Although anthropogenic change is often gradual, the impacts on
animal populations may be precipitous if physiological processes create
tipping points between energy gain, reproduction or survival. We use 25
years of behavioural, diet and demographic data from elephant seals to
characterise their relationships with lifetime fitness. Survival and
reproduction increased with mass gain during long foraging trips preceding
the pupping seasons, and there was a threshold where individuals that
gained an additional 4.8% of their body mass (26 kg, from 206 to 232 kg)
increased lifetime reproductive success three-fold (from 1.8 to 4.9 pups).
This was due to a two-fold increase in pupping probability (30% to 76%) and
a 7% increase in reproductive lifespan (6.0 to 6.4 years). The sharp
threshold between mass gain and reproduction may explain reproductive
failure observed in many species and demonstrates how small, gradual
reductions in prey from anthropogenic disturbance could have profound
implications for animal populations.

Keith & Roxanne
Keith M. Hernandez, PhD | he/him/his
Postdoctoral Scholar, Cetacean Conservation and Genomics Laboratory
Marine Mammal Institute, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon State
Newport, OR 97365
Google Scholar
ResearchGate <https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Keith_Hernandez2>
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