Mammal population regulation, keystone processes and ecosystem dynamics
Sinclair AR.
Centre for Biodiversity Research,
6270 University Boulevard,
University of British Columbia,
Vancouver V6T 1Z4, Canada.
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2003 Oct 29;358(1438):1729-40.


The theory of regulation in animal populations is fundamental to understanding the dynamics of populations, the causes of mortality and how natural selection shapes the life history of species. In mammals, the great range in body size allows us to see how allometric relationships affect the mode of regulation. Resource limitation is the fundamental cause of regulation. Top-down limitation through predators is determined by four factors: (i). body size; (ii). the diversity of predators and prey in the system; (iii). whether prey are resident or migratory; and (iv). the presence of alternative prey for predators. Body size in mammals has two important consequences. First, mammals, particularly large species, can act as keystones that determine the diversity of an ecosystem. I show how keystone processes can, in principle, be measured using the example of the wildebeest in the Serengeti ecosystem. Second, mammals act as ecological landscapers by altering vegetation succession. Mammals alter physical structure, ecological function and species diversity in most terrestrial biomes. In general, there is a close interaction between allometry, population regulation, life history and ecosystem dynamics. These relationships are relevant to applied aspects of conservation and pest management.
A "food web"
Keystone species
Ecosystem dynamics
Immunocontaception Reprogramming Predators
Conservation biology: resources
Immunocontraceptive vaccine for deer
Measuring the effects of wildlife contraception
Long-term ecosystem dynamics in the Serengeti

BLTC Research
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Utopian Surgery?
The End of Suffering
Riley Day Syndrome
Wirehead Hedonism
The Good Drug Guide
Paradise Engineering
Quotations on Suffering
Abolitionism (Wikipedia)
Reprogramming Predators
MDMA: Utopian Pharmacology
Conservation Biology: resources
Crabs Suffer and Remember Pain
Happiness and the Hedonic Treadmill
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World
The Abolitionist Project (podcast 15Mb)
Emotional vs physical pain. Which is worse?
Kamunyak, the lioness who adopted baby antelopes