Fertility partially drives the relative success of two introduced bovines (Bubalus bubalis and Bos javanicus) in the Australian tropics.

Clive McMahon, Barry W Brook, David Bowman, Grant James Williamson, Corey Bradshaw

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Context: Some large herbivores introduced to Australia have achieved population densities so high as to cause considerable ecological damage. Intriguingly, others have been relatively less successful and have correspondingly perturbed their new environments less. An excellent example is two similar-sized bovine species that established feral populations in the Northern Territory of Australia in the mid-19th century. Asian swamp buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) rapidly colonised the tropical savannas, causing ecological degradation, especially on freshwater swamps. In contrast, banteng (Bos javanicus) are restricted to their point of introduction and have caused relatively negligible ecological damage. Understanding the reasons of this differential success is of theoretical and applied interest and contributes to managing large herbivore populations for ex situ conservation and feral-animal control.

    Aims: To compare the population structure of buffalo and banteng on the basis of shot samples, so as to construct life tables for four contemporary (low-density) buffalo populations, and collated data from previous work from three historical (high-density) buffalo populations and one banteng population (the only extant ex situ population in existence). Further, to provide a validation of age estimation with and without informed priors in a Bayesian model comparing horn length and ages estimated from tooth cementum annuli. Finally, to interpret our results in the context of relative invasion potential of the two bovid species.

    Key Results: For both species, survival of juveniles was the most important demographic component influencing deterministic population growth. However, buffalo have the demographic capacity to recover swiftly after control because of high survival and fertility rates across a range of population densities. Fertility of buffalo was historically greater than that of banteng, and buffalo fertility increased as their populations were reduced.

    Conclusions: These findings highlight how subtle differences in demographic rates and feeding ecology can influence the success (high population growth and range expansion) of large herbivores, knowledge which is increasingly important for managing invasive species effectively.

    Implications: We show that that individual life-history traits and demographic performance, especially fertility, play an important role in determining the spread of invasive bovids in a novel environment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)386-395
    Number of pages10
    JournalWildlife Research
    Volume38
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2011

    Fingerprint

    Bos javanicus
    buffaloes
    fertility
    tropics
    population density
    herbivore
    cattle
    swamp
    population growth
    demographic statistics
    damage
    herbivores
    life table
    feeding ecology
    range expansion
    life history trait
    invasive species
    savanna
    tooth
    population structure

    Cite this

    McMahon, Clive ; Brook, Barry W ; Bowman, David ; Williamson, Grant James ; Bradshaw, Corey. / Fertility partially drives the relative success of two introduced bovines (Bubalus bubalis and Bos javanicus) in the Australian tropics. In: Wildlife Research. 2011 ; Vol. 38, No. 5. pp. 386-395.
    @article{cdd009d882a04b918062675ed9522d19,
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    abstract = "Context: Some large herbivores introduced to Australia have achieved population densities so high as to cause considerable ecological damage. Intriguingly, others have been relatively less successful and have correspondingly perturbed their new environments less. An excellent example is two similar-sized bovine species that established feral populations in the Northern Territory of Australia in the mid-19th century. Asian swamp buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) rapidly colonised the tropical savannas, causing ecological degradation, especially on freshwater swamps. In contrast, banteng (Bos javanicus) are restricted to their point of introduction and have caused relatively negligible ecological damage. Understanding the reasons of this differential success is of theoretical and applied interest and contributes to managing large herbivore populations for ex situ conservation and feral-animal control. Aims: To compare the population structure of buffalo and banteng on the basis of shot samples, so as to construct life tables for four contemporary (low-density) buffalo populations, and collated data from previous work from three historical (high-density) buffalo populations and one banteng population (the only extant ex situ population in existence). Further, to provide a validation of age estimation with and without informed priors in a Bayesian model comparing horn length and ages estimated from tooth cementum annuli. Finally, to interpret our results in the context of relative invasion potential of the two bovid species. Key Results: For both species, survival of juveniles was the most important demographic component influencing deterministic population growth. However, buffalo have the demographic capacity to recover swiftly after control because of high survival and fertility rates across a range of population densities. Fertility of buffalo was historically greater than that of banteng, and buffalo fertility increased as their populations were reduced. Conclusions: These findings highlight how subtle differences in demographic rates and feeding ecology can influence the success (high population growth and range expansion) of large herbivores, knowledge which is increasingly important for managing invasive species effectively. Implications: We show that that individual life-history traits and demographic performance, especially fertility, play an important role in determining the spread of invasive bovids in a novel environment.",
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    Fertility partially drives the relative success of two introduced bovines (Bubalus bubalis and Bos javanicus) in the Australian tropics. / McMahon, Clive; Brook, Barry W; Bowman, David; Williamson, Grant James; Bradshaw, Corey.

    In: Wildlife Research, Vol. 38, No. 5, 12.10.2011, p. 386-395.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Fertility partially drives the relative success of two introduced bovines (Bubalus bubalis and Bos javanicus) in the Australian tropics.

    AU - McMahon, Clive

    AU - Brook, Barry W

    AU - Bowman, David

    AU - Williamson, Grant James

    AU - Bradshaw, Corey

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    N2 - Context: Some large herbivores introduced to Australia have achieved population densities so high as to cause considerable ecological damage. Intriguingly, others have been relatively less successful and have correspondingly perturbed their new environments less. An excellent example is two similar-sized bovine species that established feral populations in the Northern Territory of Australia in the mid-19th century. Asian swamp buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) rapidly colonised the tropical savannas, causing ecological degradation, especially on freshwater swamps. In contrast, banteng (Bos javanicus) are restricted to their point of introduction and have caused relatively negligible ecological damage. Understanding the reasons of this differential success is of theoretical and applied interest and contributes to managing large herbivore populations for ex situ conservation and feral-animal control. Aims: To compare the population structure of buffalo and banteng on the basis of shot samples, so as to construct life tables for four contemporary (low-density) buffalo populations, and collated data from previous work from three historical (high-density) buffalo populations and one banteng population (the only extant ex situ population in existence). Further, to provide a validation of age estimation with and without informed priors in a Bayesian model comparing horn length and ages estimated from tooth cementum annuli. Finally, to interpret our results in the context of relative invasion potential of the two bovid species. Key Results: For both species, survival of juveniles was the most important demographic component influencing deterministic population growth. However, buffalo have the demographic capacity to recover swiftly after control because of high survival and fertility rates across a range of population densities. Fertility of buffalo was historically greater than that of banteng, and buffalo fertility increased as their populations were reduced. Conclusions: These findings highlight how subtle differences in demographic rates and feeding ecology can influence the success (high population growth and range expansion) of large herbivores, knowledge which is increasingly important for managing invasive species effectively. Implications: We show that that individual life-history traits and demographic performance, especially fertility, play an important role in determining the spread of invasive bovids in a novel environment.

    AB - Context: Some large herbivores introduced to Australia have achieved population densities so high as to cause considerable ecological damage. Intriguingly, others have been relatively less successful and have correspondingly perturbed their new environments less. An excellent example is two similar-sized bovine species that established feral populations in the Northern Territory of Australia in the mid-19th century. Asian swamp buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) rapidly colonised the tropical savannas, causing ecological degradation, especially on freshwater swamps. In contrast, banteng (Bos javanicus) are restricted to their point of introduction and have caused relatively negligible ecological damage. Understanding the reasons of this differential success is of theoretical and applied interest and contributes to managing large herbivore populations for ex situ conservation and feral-animal control. Aims: To compare the population structure of buffalo and banteng on the basis of shot samples, so as to construct life tables for four contemporary (low-density) buffalo populations, and collated data from previous work from three historical (high-density) buffalo populations and one banteng population (the only extant ex situ population in existence). Further, to provide a validation of age estimation with and without informed priors in a Bayesian model comparing horn length and ages estimated from tooth cementum annuli. Finally, to interpret our results in the context of relative invasion potential of the two bovid species. Key Results: For both species, survival of juveniles was the most important demographic component influencing deterministic population growth. However, buffalo have the demographic capacity to recover swiftly after control because of high survival and fertility rates across a range of population densities. Fertility of buffalo was historically greater than that of banteng, and buffalo fertility increased as their populations were reduced. Conclusions: These findings highlight how subtle differences in demographic rates and feeding ecology can influence the success (high population growth and range expansion) of large herbivores, knowledge which is increasingly important for managing invasive species effectively. Implications: We show that that individual life-history traits and demographic performance, especially fertility, play an important role in determining the spread of invasive bovids in a novel environment.

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    KW - colonization

    KW - demography

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    KW - invasive species

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    KW - model validation

    KW - population density

    KW - population growth

    KW - range expansion

    KW - reproductive success

    KW - savanna

    KW - survival

    KW - swamp

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    KW - tropical region

    KW - wildlife management

    KW - Australia

    KW - Northern Territory

    KW - Animalia

    KW - Bos javanicus

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    KW - Bovinae

    KW - Bubalus bubalis

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