Body size and digestive system shape resource selection by ungulates: a cross-taxa test of the Forage Maturation Hypothesis

Saeideh Esmaeili, Brett Jesmer, Shannon Albeke, Ellen Aikens, Kathryn Schoenecker, Sarah King, Briana Abrahms, Bayarbaatar Buuveibaatar, Jeffrey Beck, Randall Boone, Francesca Cagnacci, Simon Chamaillé-Jammes, Buyanaa Chimeddorj, Paul Cross, Nandintsetseg Dejid, Jagdag Enkhbayar, Ilya Fischhoff, Adam Ford, Kate Jenks, Mahmoud-Reza Hemami, Jacob Hennig, Takehiko Ito, Petra Kaczensky, Matthew Kauffman, John Linnell … & Jacob Goheen
The Forage Maturation Hypothesis (FMH) states that energy intake for ungulates is maximized when forage biomass is at intermediate levels. Nevertheless, metabolic allometry and different digestive systems suggest that resource selection should vary across ungulate species. By combining GPS relocations with remotely-sensed data on forage characteristics and surface water, we quantified the effect of body size and digestive system in determining movements of 30 populations of hindgut fermenters (equids) and ruminants across biomes. Selection for...
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