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CHANGES IN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PALMATE AND CERVINE ANTLERS IN MOOSE (ALCES ALCES) IN SOUTHEASTERN NORWAY

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CHANGES IN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PALMATE AND CERVINE ANTLERS IN MOOSE (ALCES ALCES) IN SOUTHEASTERN NORWAY

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ABSTRACT: Moose (Alees alces) have evolved 2 antler morphs; palmate and cervine. Using data from 1,186 antlers collected from moose harvested in southeastern Norway during 1950-1997, I tested the widely held hypothesis that the cervine morph has become the predominant antler type in Norway. The antlers were categorized according to palmate, intermediate, and cervine form. I also used quantítatíve measurements of tínes (average length and number) to study trends in morphology. An adaptive landscape method was used to study a combination ofthe relative number oftines and relatíve tine length. Since 1950, the palmate morph decreased signíficantly by 0.52% per year (P = 0.002), whíle the cervíne morph increased sígnificantly by 0.39% per year (P = 0.008). Number of tines decreased in the palmate morph, but there was no trend ín tíne length. The intermediate morph increased ín the number oftines and decreased in tíne length, whíle the cervíne morph showed no trends in morphology. Combined for all morphs ín the adaptíve landscape, the relatíve number of tínes decreased and relatíve tíne length íncreased throughout the time seríes, índícatíng a change toward more cervíne antlers ín southeastern Norway. The causes for this change are discussed ín relatíon to frequency-dependent selection and density/socíal stress hypotheses. ALCES VOL. 37 (l): 79-88 (2001) Keywords: Alces a/ces, antlers, frequency-dependent selectíon, moose, phenotypic change, selection plateau, social stress
... Voipio (1952), Koivisto (1965), Nygrén and Nygrén (1976) and Nygrén (1997) published frequency data from Finland and Bäckström (1948) and Stålfelt (1974) from Sweden. Engan (2001) ...
... blished data on the relationship between numbers of tines or body size and moose of different antler types. Similarly, data on the frequency of moose antler types are scarce (Table 2). Voipio (1952), Koivisto (1965, Nygrén and Nygrén (1976) and Nygrén (1997) published frequency data from Finland and Bäckström (1948) and Stålfelt (1974) from Sweden. Engan (2001) studied the frequencies of antler types in trophy bulls in Norway and found that the proportion of cervina type antlers slowly increased from 1950 to 1997. According to antler type statistics (Nygrén 1997) and the opinion of the majority of hunters (Nygrén & Tykkyläinen 2006), the proportion of palmated type antlers has also decreased i ...
... The decrease in mean age was less dramatic (Nygrén et al. 1999), and the temporal change of carcass weight, antler spread and number of tines was less obvious in zone IV where hunting was less intensive and selective hunting less reproduction oriented. Several comments on the increase of cervina type antler frequencies in different moose populations have been published (Collett 1911–1912, Schulz 1931 [as cited in Munsterhjelm 1937, Munsterhjelm 1937, Skuncke 1949, Voipio 1948, Koivisto 1965), but data on the temporal change in antler type frequencies have only been published in Finland (Nygrén 1997) and Norway (Engan 2001). The results were consistent with our data on all age classes presented. ...
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Nygrén, T., Pusenius, J., Tiilikainen, R. & Korpelainen, J. 2007: Moose antler type polymorphism: age and weight dependent phenotypes and phenotype frequencies in space and time. — Ann. Zool. Fennici 44: 445–461. We provide the first detailed description of the phenotypic polymorphism of the Euro-pean moose (Alces alces) bulls with three different antler types: cervina, intermediate and palmated. We assess how the frequencies of bulls with different antler types as well as antler spread and tine numbers are related to age, body weight, region and time. Our results indicate that antler type phenotypes are linked to other body and antler size characteristics. The cervina type had the smallest and the palmated the largest carcass weight, antler spread and tine numbers. The youngest age groups were predominantly of cervina type. At the prime age of 6.5–10.5 years, the prevalent types were inter-mediate and palmated. At an older age, the cervina type increased and the other types decreased. We propose that the penetrance of inherited antler type is best at prime age when it is important for a bull to be successful in mating competition. The cervina type was most prevalent in the southern zone and the palmated type in the northern zone. The mean age, mean carcass weight, antler spread and tine numbers all decreased from 1976–1986 to 1996–1999. The results were similar in the age-standardized prime age bulls. We hypothesize that intensive selective hunting as well as possible fitness differ-ences between antler types in managed forests may have been involved in the decrease of the palmated antler type.
... Three different antler types can be recognized in the European moose (Alces alces): cervina, intermediate and palmated types (Bubenik 1998, Engan 2001 (Fig 1). The phenotypic antler type frequencies, reviewed by , differ substantially in the distribution area of the European moose. ...
... All over the distribution area of the European moose, the palmated type is the preferred antler type (e.g. Voipio 1948, Koivisto 1965, Engan 2001. Over the course of time, however, the cervina type has become more abundant in most territories of European moose (Collett 1911-12, Munsterhjelm 1937, Voipio 1948, Skuncke 1949, Koivisto 1965, Yazan 1972, Engan 2001). ...
... Voipio 1948, Koivisto 1965, Engan 2001. Over the course of time, however, the cervina type has become more abundant in most territories of European moose (Collett 1911-12, Munsterhjelm 1937, Voipio 1948, Skuncke 1949, Koivisto 1965, Yazan 1972, Engan 2001). Hypotheses about the underlying causes of the frequency change have been presented (e.g. ...
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Intensified forest management after the last war and taking up the practice of calf hunting in the 1970’s created the prerequisites for a growing population of moose in Finland. The population has been regulated with varying success during the last few decades. This study looks at the history of the development of the regulation of the Finnish moose population, the biological foundations for it and the policies concerning it. The study also considers the effect of the management practices on the moose in Finland. The observations presented here are used to discuss future alternatives and for presenting a utopia of regulation which aims at reaching a stable and sustainably exploited population. The effects on the moose population of the regulation practiced to date have been sizeable. The population growth has been curtailed for the purpose of minimising moose damage. It has been done by harvesting one third of the animals each year and the harvest has been implemented so as not to reduce its production efficiency. This has given rise to a highly productive and extremely well exploited moose population. It seems that at the turn of the millennium, Finland housed a population of moose that appears to be more productive than anywhere else in the world. Changing the population structure by selective hunting has had an effect on the development of moose population density. There have been intermittent phases of explosive growth and falling population densities. Nevertheless, even the highest population densities have been reasonable compared to Finland’s western neighbours and symptoms of fitness and health from wear on grazing areas, in individual moose, have been negligible. At the end of the observation period, in 2007, the population densities were more or less within the target. The proportion of males, however, was lower than ever before and the number of calves per female and the proportion of twins were decreasing. The population has also changed genetically, as the proportion of males with cervina type antlers has increased in relation to those with the palmated type. Moose population regulation and management has been a multilateral series of events in natural resource policy, which has been based on scientific research and the experience gained from the continual follow-up of the population. Continual change has been characteristic of this process. The size and structure of the population, the aims of its regulation and management and the methods of follow-up and hunting have all undergone change. Information has been imprecise, the matters have been complicated and politically controversial, as well as socially difficult and polarised and decisions have had to be made in a hurry. Values have also changed. A valued game animal has become one that is harmful to the national economy. Its value has become interpreted as negative from the point of view of the social economy. On average, the results of the population regulation have been unsatisfactory. The population developed more or less according to target only during 1984–1992, which is when the co-operation between the relevant actors was efficient, aims and responsibilities were clear, the decision making was centralised and the biological sustainability of the populations had higher priority than the economic and harvesting aims. During the course of the 1990’s, however, the hunting law was renewed, the Hunters’ Central Organisation was reorganised and the responsibility for moose management shifted to the local level. In this process of re-organisation and law renewal, previous follow-up methods and practices lost their effectiveness. The development of the moose population became more unpredictable. Aiming for a biologically and socially sustainable population is the objective of the regulation utopia which looks to the future and is presented at the end of the study. One of its characteristics is discarding the aim of maximising the production efficiency of the population, which is what has been increasing the occurrence of problems caused by moose. Key words: Age structure, Alces alces, antler types, cervid genetics, exploitation, moose, moose management, moose policy, population dynamics, productivity, rapid contemporary evolution, regulation goals, sex ratio, weight development
... Tyyppien määrällinen jakautuminen levinneisyysalueen eri osissa tunnetaan kuitenkin heikosti. Empiiristä aineistoa on julkaistu vain Fennoskandiasta (Bäckström 1948, Voipio 1952, Koivisto 1965, Nygrén, K. & Nygrén, T. 1976, Stålfelt 1974, Nygrén, T. 1997, Engan 2001. ...
... Hirven sarvityypit määräytyvät yleisen, vaikkakin tutkimuksin vahvistamattoman käsityksen mukaan geneettisesti (Voipio 1948, Bäckström 1948, Rülcker & Stålfelt 1986, Haagenrud 1995, Geist 1998, Engan 2001. Vuosien saatossa hankosarvityypin on arveltu yleistyneen useiden alueiden hirvikannoissa (Collett 1911−12, Munsterhjelm 1937, Voipio 1948, 1952, Koivisto 1965, Nygrén, T. 1997. ...
... Clearly, adaptations of moose to their environment can lead to morphological differences that may be useful in their management, including antler characteristics (Bowyer et al. 2001, Engan 2001, and digestive physiology (Kochan 2001). Knowledge concerning how these morphological and physiological characteristics differ among populations or subspecies will promote a more complete understanding of how moose are adapted to boreal environments, and thereby enhance opportunities for their sound management. ...
... The growth and architecture of antler types varies among individuals of a species and between geographically distinct populations, and has been thoroughly described for moose (Alces alces) populations in North America (Cringan 1955, Timmermann 1971, Bubenik 1973, Bubenik 1982, Child 1982, Van Ballenberghe 1982, Gasaway et al. 1987 and Fennoscandia (Solberg and Saether 1993a, Engan 2001, Nygrén et al. 2007). Antler size is influenced by age, genetic factors, health status, and nutrition (Hibler and Adcock 1971, Wolf 1980, Harmel 1983, Ullrey 1982. ...
... The landscape south of the glaciers at the end of the Last Ice Age was characterized by open steppe tundra vegetation (Andersen 2000), and antler mass of ungulates is generally larger in open as opposed to forest landscapes (Geist 1999). The frequency of palmate antlers increase to the north and with increasing body size (Saether & Haagenrud 1985; Engan 2001 ). The largest antlers are in general found among six year olds which, in modern Norwegian populations, have an average of 10-12 antler tines in total (Solberg et al. 2006). ...
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In 1895 a shed elk antler was found in a mire on a farm near Fluberg, in Søndre Land municipality in south-eastern Norway. The antler was first radiocarbon dated in 2008 and yielded the age 9,100 ± 50 BP (8,340 – 8,250 BC), which is the oldest dated elk remain from Norway. Elk (Alces alces L., 1758) are a pioneer colonising species; they were already established south of the ice front in Denmark and southern Sweden in the Late Glacial period. This antler shows that the species had arrived in south-eastern Norway in the late Preboreal period. This could tie in with the earliest arrival of elk once the colonizing routes from southern Sweden were established 9,300-9,200 BP. The antler is clearly of the palmate morph, and strongly resembles elk antlers found in Denmark and southern Sweden from the Late Glacial and Early Holocene periods. This find also reveals that the vegetation at the end of the Preboreal period suited large herbivores such as elk.
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