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Dynamics of a Socially and Spatially Structured Giraffe Population in a Human-Natural Landscape

Sociality involves a constant trade-off between fitness benefits and costs of living in groups, and this trade-off can be influenced by the social and ecological environment in which individuals live. In this PhD I explored socioecological factors underlying the social and spatial population structure and dynamics of a large tropical herbivore with a highly fission-fusion social system, the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis). Using a dataset of more than 3,000 uniquely identified individuals collected over a period of 8 years in the

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Habitat heterogeneity and social factors drive behavioral plasticity in giraffe herd-size dynamics

Behavioral plasticity, or the mechanism by which an organism can adjust its behavior in response to exogenous change, has been highlighted as a potential buffer against extinction risk. Giraffes (Giraffa spp.) are gregarious, long-lived, highly mobile megaherbivores with a large brain size, characteristics that have been associated with high levels of behavioral plasticity. However, while there has been a recent focus on genotypic variability and morphological differences among giraffe populations, there has been relatively little discussion centered on behavioral flexibility

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