Dr. Michiel Veldhuis, CML, Leiden University – 12 November 2019

Large herbivore assemblages in a changing world: incorporating water dependence, thermoregulation and predation


The coexistence of different species of large herbivores (ungulates) in grasslands and savannas has fascinated ecologists for decades. However, changes in climate, land‐use and trophic structure of ecosystems increasingly jeopardise the persistence of such diverse assemblages. Body size and feeding type (browser-grazer) have been used successfully to explain ungulate niche differentiation with regard to food requirements. But this trait axis insufficiently captures interspecific differences in water requirements and thermoregulatory capacity and thus sensitivity to climate change. Recently, my team has developed a three‐dimensional trait space of body size, feeding type and minimum dung moisture content that characterises the combined food and water requirements of large herbivores. Subsequently, I will explore how other constraints such as predation risk (carnivore extinction and reintroduction) and thermoregulation are connected to this multi‐dimensional framework.

Nature of Life seminars

Date       :   12 November 2019

Time       :   15.45 hours

Location:   Room WN-F637, W&N building VU Amsterdam