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1 April 2015 Habitat, diet, macronutrient, and fiber balance of Himalayan marmot (Marmota himalayana) in the Central Himalaya, Nepal
Achyut Aryal, Dianne Brunton, Weihong Ji, Jessica Rothman, Sean C. P. Coogan, Bikash Adhikari, Junhu Su, David Raubenheimer
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Abstract

The Himalayan marmot (Marmota himalayana) occurs throughout the Himalayan alpine mountain ecosystem. We examined the characteristics of Himalayan marmot habitat, diet, and macronutrient consumption in the upper Mustang region of Nepal. Marmots inhabited warmer valleys close to water sources in areas between 2,900 and 4,800 m above sea level. Soil pH, organic matter, organic carbon, and phosphorus were not different in marmot use versus available habitat; however, potash levels significantly lower in marmot burrow habitat. Seventeen species of plants, including Primula spp., Potentilla fruticosa, Kobresia pygmaea, Anaphalis contorta, Lonicera spinosa, and Carex spp., were recorded in marmot scats over 3 seasons (summer 2010, autumn 2010, and spring 2011). Analysis showed a positive correlation between the total macronutrient content (dry matter protein carbohydrate fat) of plants and their occurrence in the diet. Analysis of the fiber and macronutrient balance of a limited number of plants consumed by marmots showed little difference between pre- and post-hibernation, but suggested that protein balance of foods was higher post-hibernation. Furthermore, relative frequency of plants in the diet did not reflect their abundance in the environment, suggesting active selection of plants high in total macronutrient concentration.

© 2015 American Society of Mammalogists, www.mammalogy.org
Achyut Aryal, Dianne Brunton, Weihong Ji, Jessica Rothman, Sean C. P. Coogan, Bikash Adhikari, Junhu Su, and David Raubenheimer "Habitat, diet, macronutrient, and fiber balance of Himalayan marmot (Marmota himalayana) in the Central Himalaya, Nepal," Journal of Mammalogy 96(2), 308-316, (1 April 2015). https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyv032
Received: 5 July 2014; Accepted: 20 October 2014; Published: 1 April 2015
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KEYWORDS
ecosystem engineer
forage plants
macronutrients
marmot
plant diversity
soil nutrients
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