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Ecology. 2011 Jan;92(1):218-27.

Proximate causes of natal dispersal in female yellow-bellied marmots, Marmota flaviventris.

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  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045, USA.

Abstract

We investigated factors influencing natal dispersal in 231 female yearling yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventris) using comprehensive analysis of 10 years (1983-1993) of radiotelemetry and 37 years (1963-1999) of capture-mark-recapture data. Only individuals whose dispersal status was verified, primarily by radiotelemetry, were considered. Univariate analyses revealed that six of the 24 variables we studied significantly influenced dispersal: dispersal was less likely when the mother was present, amicable behavior with the mother and play behavior were more frequent, and spatial overlap was greater with the mother, with matriline females, and with other yearling females. Using both univariate and multivariate analyses, we tested several hypotheses proposed as proximate causes of dispersal. We rejected inbreeding avoidance, population density, body size, social intolerance, and kin competition as factors influencing dispersal. Instead, our results indicate that kin cooperation, expressed via cohesive behaviors and with a focus on the mother, influenced dispersal by promoting philopatry. Kin cooperation may be an underappreciated factor influencing dispersal in both social and nonsocial species.

PMID:
21560692
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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