Charly Plaisir

Université de Sherbrooke
How does seasonal environmental variability lead to divergent growth strategies in juvenile Eastern Grey Kangaroos (Macropus giganteus)?

Seasonal environmental variability is a key factor affecting life history traits of wild mammals, especially in terms of female reproductive strategy. An adaptation to this ecological constraint is widely observed in large iteroparous species like the Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus), where some of the reproductive costs are transferred to the offspring. This leads to the opportunity for divergent developmental strategies for young born and raised in different conditions. Eastern Grey Kangaroos are one of few mammal species to show indeterminate growth. However, maximal growth rates may lead to a trade-off with immune function and possibly jeopardized survival when resources are scarce. Based on 11 years of longitudinal data, we will investigate the impact of pre/post-natal conditions on the developmental patterns of sub-adult eastern grey kangaroos. We expect to observe a compensatory growth strategy by individuals born and raised in suboptimal conditions, which will be considered with regards to their structural growth to adulthood, their body condition, rate of resource acquisition, and level of association with their mother as subadults.