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OttersEcology, behaviour and conservation$
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Hans Kruuk

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198565871

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198565871.001.0001

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Populations, recruitment and competition

Populations, recruitment and competition

Chapter:
(p.173) Chapter 11 Populations, recruitment and competition
Source:
Otters
Author(s):

Hans Kruuk

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198565871.003.0011

This chapter discusses the methodology of assessing populations, surveys of faeces (spraints) and dens, use of radio-nuclides, and direct observations. Estimates of population densities are presented from several species. Sea otter numbers plunged during the 19th century, recovered in the 20th century, and crashed again in 1990s. Gene flow is limited and genetic diversity low. Reproduction is low is all species, with small litter sizes (one in the sea otter) and long periods of cub dependency. Breeding seasons of Eurasian otters are related to food supply; annual variation of numbers of cubs is correlated with prey availability. The North American river otter and sea otter have a delayed implantation, the Eurasian otter does not. Competition between otter species is discussed, as is food competition with other piscivores, including mink, water mongoose, crocodile, alligator, and also with human fisheries.

Keywords:   populations, recruitment, competition, genetic diversity, breeding season, delayed implantation

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