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Marmot Biology: Sociality, Individual Fitness, and Population Dynamics

  • Gathers the results of a 40-year research project on the yellow-bellied marmot, highlighting life-history features and describing how this species copes with and survives in a harsh environment
  • Presents extensive natural history observations, providing an essential foundation for integrating social and population processes
  • Discusses the role of sociality in its reproductive and evolutionary context

By: Kenneth B Armitage(Author)

407 pages, 8 plates with colour photos and colour illustrations; 125 b/w photos and b/w illustrations, 117 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Jul 2014 | #210168 | ISBN-13: 9781107053946
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £103.00 $139/€116 approx

About this book

Focusing on the physiological and behavioral factors that enable a species to live in a harsh seasonal environment, Marmot Biology places the social biology of marmots in an environmental context. It draws on the results of a 40-year empirical study of the population biology of the yellow-bellied marmot near the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in the Upper East River Valley in Colorado, USA. The text examines life-history features such as body-size, habitat use, environmental physiology, social dynamics, and kinship. Considerable new data analyses are integrated with material published over a 50-year period, including extensive natural history observations, providing an essential foundation for integrating social and population processes. Finally, the results of research into the yellow-bellied marmot are related to major ecological and evolutionary theories, especially inclusive fitness and population regulation, making this a valuable resource for students and researchers in animal behavior, behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, ecology and conservation.



Part I. The Diversity and Evolutionary History of Marmots
1. Marmots in human culture: from folklore to research
2. Marmots: their history and diversity
3. Marmot habitats
4. Use of resources
5. Evolution of sociality
6. Body-mass variation
7. Hibernation energetics and the circannual rhythm

Part II. Biotic and Abiotic Environments
8. The environment of the yellow-bellied marmot
9. Environmental physiology

Part III. Social Structure and Behavior of the Yellow-Bellied Marmot
10. The role of kinship: resource sharing
11. The role of kinship: social behavior and matriline dynamics
12. Social behavior: play and individuality
13. Communication
14. Alarm responses of the yellow-bellied marmot

Part IV. Reproductive Success
15. Male reproductive success
16. Female reproductive success

Part V. Population Dynamics
17. Basic demography
18. Dispersal and immigration
19. Metapopulation dynamics
20. Population regulation or population limitation

Part VI. The Future of Marmots
21. Climate change and conservation
22. Major life-history traits


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Kenneth B. Armitage is Baumgartner Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas. His 40-year research project on the yellow-bellied marmot in the Upper East River Valley, Colorado, is the second longest continuous study of a mammal. He is an elected Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an Honorary Member of the American Society of Mammalogists for 'distinguished service to the science of mammalogy'.

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