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Life-history and spatial determinants of somatic growth dynamics in Komodo dragon populations

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journal contribution
posted on 2012-09-19, 00:00 authored by R J Laver, D Purwandana, A Ariefiandy, J Imansyah, D Forsyth, C Ciofi, Tim Jessop
Somatic growth patterns represent a major component of organismal fitness and may vary among sexes and populations due to genetic and environmental processes leading to profound differences in life-history and demography. This study considered the ontogenic, sex-specific and spatial dynamics of somatic growth patterns in ten populations of the world's largest lizard the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). The growth of 400 individual Komodo dragons was measured in a capture-mark-recapture study at ten sites on four islands in eastern Indonesia, from 2002 to 2010. Generalized Additive Mixed Models (GAMMs) and information-theoretic methods were used to examine how growth rates varied with size, age and sex, and across and within islands in relation to site-specific prey availability, lizard population density and inbreeding coefficients. Growth trajectories differed significantly with size and between sexes, indicating different energy allocation tactics and overall costs associated with reproduction. This leads to disparities in maximum body sizes and longevity. Spatial variation in growth was strongly supported by a curvilinear density-dependent growth model with highest growth rates occurring at intermediate population densities. Sex-specific trade-offs in growth underpin key differences in Komodo dragon life-history including evidence for high costs of reproduction in females. Further, inverse density-dependent growth may have profound effects on individual and population level processes that influence the demography of this species.

History

Journal

PLoS ONE

Volume

7

Issue

9

Season

Article Number :

Article number

e45398

Pagination

1 - 10

Publisher

Public Library of Science (PLOS)

Location

San Francisco, Calif.

eISSN

1932-6203

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2012, Public Library of Science (PLOS)