PerspectivePOPULATION ECOLOGY

Not All Sheep Are Equal

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Science  25 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5521, pp. 1499-1500
DOI: 10.1126/science.1061765

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Summary

Knowing the factors that cause fluctua-tions in the density of large mammal populations is important for planning conservation and harvesting measures. As Gaillard and colleagues discuss in their informative Perspective, a remarkable 11-year study of a remote island population of Soay sheep ( Coulson et al.) reveals that the age and sex structure of the herd is a crucial factor in its response to ecological stresses, such as adverse weather conditions or increasing population density.