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Soay Sheep: Dynamics and Selection in an Island Population

  • Well known and influential longterm study now brought together in one place
  • Exemplary group of contributors
  • Not just a book on sheep – of wide interest in the broader context of population dynamics, ecology and behavioural ecology

By: Tim Clutton-Brock(Editor), Josephine M Pemberton(Editor)

383 pages, illustrations, tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Mar 2004 | #142102 | ISBN: 0521529905
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £41.99 $54/€47 approx
Hardback | Mar 2004 | #142101 | ISBN: 0521823005
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £108.00 $138/€120 approx

About this book

Soay Sheep synthesises one of the most detailed studies of demography and dynamics in a naturally regulated population of mammals. Unlike most other large mammals, the Soay sheep population of Hirta in the St. Kilda archipelago show persistent oscillations, sometimes increasing or declining by more than 60% in a year. Soay Sheep explores the causes of these oscillations and their consequences for selection on genetic and phenotypic variation within the population, drawing on studies over nearly twenty years of the life-histories and reproductive careers of many individuals. Covering population dynamics, demography and their effects on selection, energetic and resource limitations on the interaction between sheep and parasites, and the adaptive significance of their reproductive characteristics, it provides unique insights into the regulation of other herbivore populations and the effects of environmental change on selection and adaptation. It will be essential reading for vertebrate ecologists, demographers, evolutionary biologists and behavioural ecologists.

"A major, very important book in population biology, with first class contributors [...] a most valuable contribution to the ecology literature. I recommend it most highly."
– Charles J. Krebs, University of British Columbia

"A remarkable long-term study by a remarkable group of scientists [...] a pleasure to read [...] exemplifies how great advances in animal ecology can be achieved through the cooperation of researchers with different skills and interests."
– Marco Festa-Bianchet, Université de Sherbrook

"Soay Sheep will undoubtedly become a classic text in population biology literature. The editors should be acknowledged for producing a book that, even with so many coauthors, follows a coherent style and contains careful cross-referencing across its chapters."
TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution


1. Individuals and populations T. H. Clutton-Brock and J. M. Pemberton
2. The sheep of St Kilda T. H. Clutton-Brock, J. M. Pemberton, T. N. Coulson, I.R. Stevenson and A. D. C. MacColl
3. Population dynamics in Soay sheep T. H. Clutton-Brock, T. N. Coulson, A. D. C. MacColl, A. Illius, M. Forchhammer. K. Wilson, J. Lindström, M. J. Crawley and S. D. Albon
4. Vegetation and sheep population dynamics M. J. Crawley, S. D. Albon, D. R. Bazely, J. Milner, J. G. Pilkington and A. L. Tuke
5. Parasites and their impact K. Wilson, B. T. Grenfell, J. G. Pilkington, H. E. G. Boyd and F. M. D. Gulland
6. Mating patterns and male breeding success J. M. Pemberton, D. W. Coltman, J. A. Smith and D. A. Bancroft
7. Selection on phenotype J. M. Milner, S. D. Albon, L. E. B. Kruuk and J. M. Pemberton
8. Molecular genetic variation and selection on genotype J. M. Pemberton, D. W. Coltman, D. R. Bancroft, J. A. Smith and S. Paterson
9. Adaptive reproductive strategies I. R. Stevenson, P. Marrow, B. T. Preston, J. M. Pemberton and K. Wilson
10. The causes and consequences of instability T. H. Clutton-Brock

Appendix 1. The flora of St Kilda M. J. Crawley
Appendix 2. Inheritance of coat colour and horn type in Hirta Soay sheep D. W. Coltman and J. M. Pemberton


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Tim Clutton-Brock is Professor of Animal Ecology at the University of Cambridge. Josephine Pemberton is Reader in Molecular Ecology at the University of Edinburgh.

- T. H. Clutton-Brock
- J. M. Pemberton
- T. N. Coulson
- I. R. Stevenson
- A. D. C. MacColl
- A. Illius
- M. Forchhammer
- K. Wilson
- J. Lindström
- M. J. Crawley
- S. D. Albon
- D. R. Bazely
- J. Milner
- J. G. Pilkington
- A. L. Tuke
- B. T. Grenfell
- H. E. G. Boyd
- F. M. D. Gulland
- D. W. Coltman
- J. A. Smith
- D. A. Bancroft
- L. E. B. Kruuk
- S. Paterson
- P. Marrow
- B. T. Preston

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