Friday, August 26, 2011

Little man: back by popular demand

Thanks for all of your fun inquires about little man!

Photo by Jenn Smith

For those of you wondering how he is doing in face of predation and with all of his female admirers, the outlook is indeed very good. Little man (below on right) continues to fatten-up for the winter and attract the attention of the females marmots (e.g., "F" on left below).

Photo by Jenn Smith

In fact, as some of you wondered, there are evolutionary trade-offs for fat marmots. Marmots must be fat to withstand months of hibernation, but very fat marmots with slow escape speeds are vulnerable to predation. To understand such trade-offs we continue to live trap and observe all of our marmots.

In fact, after we live trap a marmot from our population, we scurry behind him or her to record the maximum speed at which a marmot is able to run away from a potential threat.

Photo by Jenn Smith

We look a bit silly in the field chasing marmots and even the ground squirrels notice take notice of our odd behavior. As obligate hibernators, ground squirrels also seem to be getting quite chubby these days. This is great for them though because winter will be upon us soon enough!

No comments:

Post a Comment