Physiological suppression eases in Damaraland mole-rat societies when ecological constraints on dispersal are relaxed

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.author Young, Andrew J.
dc.contributor.author Oosthuizen, Maria Kathleen
dc.contributor.author Lutermann, Heike
dc.contributor.author Bennett, Nigel C., 1961-
dc.date.accessioned 2011-01-10T08:14:38Z
dc.date.available 2011-01-10T08:14:38Z
dc.date.issued 2010
dc.description.abstract In many vertebrate societies, subordinate females exhibit down-regulated reproductive physiologies relative to those of dominants, a condition commonly termed physiological suppression. Research into the causes of physiological suppression has focused principally on the role of the subordinate’s social environment (typically the presence of the dominant female and/or an absence of unrelated males within the group), while few studies have considered the additional role that the physical environment may play. Here we present new evidence from wild Damaraland mole-rats, Fukomys damarensis, revealing that physiological suppression among subordinate females eases markedly during the annual rains (a time when ecological constraints on dispersal are relaxed), despite the continued presence of the dominant female and in groups that contain no new immigrant males. Subordinate females showed substantially higher pituitary sensitivities to GnRH challenge during the wet period than the dry, a contrast that cannot be attributed to between-female differences (as it holds for paired within-female comparisons), associated changes in body mass (as our analyses control for this), or concomitant reductions in physiological stress (as their urinary cortisol concentrations were actually higher in the wet period). We suggest that our findings reflect selection for the maintenance of reproductive readiness among subordinate females during high rainfall periods, given the increased likelihood of encountering dispersal and/or mating opportunities with extra-group males when ecological constraints on dispersal are relaxed. These findings reveal new complexity in the processes that regulate physiological suppression, suggesting a key role in some species for changes in the physical as well as social environment. en
dc.identifier.citation Young, AJ, Oosthuizen, MK, Lutermann, H & Bennett, NC 2010, 'Physiological suppression eases in Damaraland mole-rat societies when ecological constraints on dispersal are relaxed', Hormones and Behavior, vol. 57, pp. 177-183. [http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0018506X] en
dc.identifier.issn 0018-506X
dc.identifier.other 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2009.10.011
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/15553
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Elsevier en
dc.rights Elsevier en
dc.subject Reproductive conflict en
dc.subject Reproductive suppression en
dc.subject Reproductive skew en
dc.subject Ecological constraints en
dc.subject Rainfall en
dc.subject Social stress en
dc.subject Cooperative breeding en
dc.subject Physiological suppression en
dc.subject Cryptomys damarensis en
dc.subject Rodents en
dc.subject.lcsh Damaraland (Namibia : Region) en
dc.subject.lcsh Bathyergidae en
dc.title Physiological suppression eases in Damaraland mole-rat societies when ecological constraints on dispersal are relaxed en
dc.type Postprint Article en


Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record