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Serengeti IVSustaining biodiversity in a coupled human-natural system$
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Anthony R. E. Sinclair, Kristine L. Metzger, Simon A. R. Mduma, and John M. Fryxell

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226195834

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226196336.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Why Are Wildebeest the Most Abundant Herbivore in the Serengeti Ecosystem?

Why Are Wildebeest the Most Abundant Herbivore in the Serengeti Ecosystem?

Chapter:
(p.125) Six Why Are Wildebeest the Most Abundant Herbivore in the Serengeti Ecosystem?
Source:
Serengeti IV
Author(s):

J. Grant C. Hopcraft

Ricardo M. Holdo

Ephraim Mwangomo

Simon A. R. Mduma

Simon J. Thirgood

Markus Borner

John M. Fryxell

Han Olff

Anthony R. E. Sinclair

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226196336.003.0006

Wildebeest are abundant in Serengeti. Comparisons of specific attributes of wildebeest with other sympatric herbivores are necessary. Each section builds on the results of the previous sections to form a complete story that combines biology, behavior, and the geomorphology of the Serengeti ecosystem; it explains how a single species can outnumber all other species. Specific aspects of wildebeest diet and reproduction, combined with their capacity to move long distances in an ecosystem with a predictable nutrient gradient enables migrant wildebeest to escape regulation by predation or food quality, and this combination enables wildebeest to dominate the ecosystem beyond the capacity of any other competitor species. Wildebeest are super-abundant in Serengeti because the ecosystem closely matches their requirements.

Keywords:   wildebeest, Serengeti ecosystem, grazing, geomorphology, nutrient gradient

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