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Reproductive Behavior

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter explores the reproductive behavior of marine mammals. Reproductive behavior is an important part of the process by which this is brought about and must serve to create a situation in which the young can safely be born and nurtured, and one which facilitates mating with suitable partners. Because many marine mammals do not feed where they reproduce, they also must locate breeding areas where reproduction and parental care can take place without compromising nutritional requirements before, during, and after the current effort. The marine habit and the geographic and energetic constraints acting on marine mammals have shaped their life histories and reproductive behaviors to create some of the most dramatic and extreme reproductive patterns among mammals. Size stands out as being of fundamental importance as to how they these animals organize their reproductive behaviors. The chapter also considers the strategies of reproductive behavior within the simple life history model of pinnipeds in which the animal's mass or condition is viewed as the fundamental state variable that determines the constraints on reproductive success. Virtually all species can be fit into this conceptual framework and most aspects of reproductive behavior and the links with foraging and molting can be incorporated within it, in terms of how they affect fecundity and offspring quality. As such, the model provides a useful framework within which to describe the requirements of behavior. © 2009



Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Marine Mammals
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780123735539
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2009

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ID: 255998968