A new method to find environmental mechanisms of life history evolution in insectivorous mammals

Diana O. Fisher, Menna E. Jones, Christopher R. Dickman, Teigan Cremona, Yolarnie Amepou, Euan G. Ritchie, Dale Nimmo, Enock Kale, David Watson, Bobby Tamayo, Rodrigo Hamede, Conrad J. Hoskin, Megan Higgie, J. Anthony Friend

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Temporal variation in food availability shapes the life history strategies of female mammals. Females are assumed to gain fitness benefits from matching births with annual or seasonal peaks in food abundance, thereby increasing their ability to meet the maximum energetic demands of lactation. Selection for synchronised seasonal breeding results when young born outside the peak birth period face long-term disadvantage. Overall food abundance affects reproductive rate and other life history traits. In mammals, most studies on these topics have been on herbivorous species. We know little about food availability on a macroecological scale and its life history consequences for insectivorous mammals. We present a standardised method to record long-term but detailed food availability for insectivorous mammals. We used horizontally-set, programmable time-lapse camera traps with a close focal distance and white led flash. We have deployed cameras at sites throughout Australia (and 2 in PNG) since 2013. These are revealing how arthropod seasonality and abundance are related to latitude, mean and variation in rainfall and temperature, substrate and vegetation; helping to increase understanding of the underlying environmental mechanisms of life history evolution in female dasyurid marsupials at a macro-ecological scale.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
Event12th International Mammalogical Congress - Perth Convention Centre, Perth, Australia
Duration: 09 Jul 201714 Jul 2017
Conference number: 12
http://www.promaco.com.au/IMC12/ (Conference website)
http://www.promaco.com.au/IMC12/Abstract-book.pdf (Abstract book)
http://imc12-2017.p.promaco.currinda.com/ (Program)


Conference12th International Mammalogical Congress
Abbreviated titleAdvances in mammalogy in a changing world
OtherOn behalf of the International Federation of Mammalogists and the Australian Mammal Society Inc., the Organising Committee is pleased to invite you to attend the 12th International Mammalogical Congress, to be held in July 2017 in a unique part of the world: Perth, in Australia’s southwest.

At a time when the IUCN has identified that 25% of mammal species are at risk, the need for continued global mammal research and management strengthens. Addressing this need requires a strong inter-disciplinary knowledge base.

The International Mammalogical Congress is the premier international mammal conference, sponsored every four years by the IFM. It provides an important forum for professional mammalogists wishing to remain Wallabyupdated on the latest marine and terrestrial mammal conservation topics, research concepts and techniques. IMC12 will bring together the diverse global community of professionals and students in the field of mammalian biology and facilitate collaboration through our international network of practitioners.
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