Seasonal mortality patterns in non-human primates: implications for variation in selection pressures across environments.


Journal Article

Examining seasonal mortality patterns can yield insights into the drivers of mortality and thus potential selection pressures acting on individuals in different environments. We compiled adult and juvenile mortality data from nine wild non-human primate taxa to investigate the role of seasonality in patterns of mortality and address the following questions: Is mortality highly seasonal across species? Does greater environmental seasonality lead to more seasonal mortality patterns? If mortality is seasonal, is it higher during wet seasons or during periods of food scarcity? and Do folivores show less seasonal mortality than frugivores? We found seasonal mortality patterns in five of nine taxa, and mortality was more often tied to wet seasons than food-scarce periods, a relationship that may be driven by disease. Controlling for phylogeny, we found a positive relationship between the degree of environmental seasonality and mortality, with folivores exhibiting more seasonal mortality than frugivores. These results suggest that mortality patterns are influenced both by diet and degree of environmental seasonality. Applied to a wider array of taxa, analyses of seasonal mortality patterns may aid understanding of life-history evolution and selection pressures acting across a broad spectrum of environments and spatial and temporal scales.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gogarten, JF; Brown, LM; Chapman, CA; Cords, M; Doran-Sheehy, D; Fedigan, LM; Grine, FE; Perry, S; Pusey, AE; Sterck, EHM; Wich, SA; Wright, PC

Published Date

  • October 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 66 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 3252 - 3266

PubMed ID

  • 23025613

Pubmed Central ID

  • 23025613

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1558-5646

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0014-3820

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.01668.x


  • eng