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A 32-year demography of yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventris)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 February 2001

Orlando A. Schwartz
Department of Biology, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0421, U.S.A.
Kenneth B. Armitage
Department of Systematics and Ecology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045-2106, U.S.A.
Dirk Van Vuren
Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.
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Yellow-bellied marmots Marmota flaviventris in the East River Valley of Colorado were live-trapped and individually marked annually from 1962 through 1993. These pooled data were used to produce a demography and life table for these years. Females had significantly better survivorship than males beyond the first-year age class, and the sex ratio became progressively female biased. The major mortality factors of predation and unsuccessful hibernation acted evenly on all age classes as shown by the constant rates of survivorship. The rate of senescence indicated that the probability of mortality did not increase with age. Females produced litters from ages 2 to 10 years. Mean litter size was 4.1 and did not differ among age classes. The female generation length of 4.49 years was 2.4 times the life expectancy and the median survivorship. The net reproductive rate (Ro) was 0.67, yet the population did not continually decline; adjustments to these data increased Ro to 0.85. Reproductive values (Vx) were approximately equal across the reproductive age classes. The polygynous mating system is both cause and effect of the demography. Marmot population size is affected by weather factors that influence reproduction and survival, by predation, and by movement into and out of the study area.

Research Article
1998 The Zoological Society of London

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