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Title: Ecology of red and roe deer in a mixed age conifer plantation : comparative studies on habital selection, ranging behaviour and feeding strategies
Author: Hinge, Manuel D. C.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1986
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The study of sympatric red (Cervus elaphus) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in a mixed-aged, second-rotation conifer forest in Argyll, Scotland, used radio-tracking and dung accumulation techniques to identify differences in the habitat utilization between the two species. The home range and core area size of roe deer was approximately a third of the size of those of red deer. A seasonal difference in range and core size occurred in male roe deer (larger in winter) but not for female red or roe deer. Habitat selection was similar by day and night within each species. The use of habitats with younger trees (upto 15 yrs), was greatest in slightly older tree stages (20-30 yrs). Both species used open habitats for feeding. In all `cover' habitat types, roe deer were found comparatively closer to the cover-edge than were red deer. The distance travelled about the home range varied according to time of day and season. Furthest distances moved occurred between 08.00hrs and 12.00hrs, and 18.00hrs and 24.00hrs. Male roe deer moved greater distances in winter, whereas the distances travelled by female red and roe deer were similar between seasons. Red deer were proportionately more active (59%) than roe deer (54%) through the 24hrs, but roe had more bouts of activity. Botanical and chemical analyses of rumen contents, showed that the diets and nutritional quality of the food eaten, differed between the deer. The diet of red and roe overlapped slightly in summer (35%) as red deer fed predominantly on grasses, and roe deer fed on forbs. In winter however, the overlap was much larger (75%) with both deer species feeding upon heather and conifers, although red deer ate larger amounts of grass than roe. The proportion of N, P, K, Ca and Mg in the winter diet of roe deer was greater than that for red deer. The observed feeding behaviour of roe and red deer highlighted the different feeding strategies adopted. Roe deer were more selective, feeding on patchily distributed plants, so consequently moved more often whilst feeding. Red deer fed predominantly on grasses that were widespread; they moved and raised their heads less often than did roe deer. The differences in habitat selection, preference and diet between red and roe deer were unlikely to be the result of interspecific competition. The observed differences follow the Jarman-Bell principle that body size dictates their nutritional requirements and consequently their behavioural patterns of foraging and habitat selection.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available