D01 Bull elephant dominance relationships after contraceptions

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M03 D01 Overview

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M03 D01 Overview
WRL reference M03 D01
Module M03 Animal Behaviour
Data Set D01 Bull elephant dominance relationships after contraception
Research questions 1. How do you identify individual elephants based on their physical appearance?

2. Is the dominance hierarchy of bull elephants at Pongola determined by age or has it been affected by the vasectomies?

Keywords Behaviour; bush ecosystem; conservation; contraception; dominance hierarchies; human management; hormones; population control; reproduction; sampling; sustainability
Potential Curriculum links AP Biology 2.E.2, 2.E.3, 3.E.2
AP Env Sci III Population A
IB Biology A.6, C.4
IB Ess 2.1.7
AQA 3.4.6, 3.4.7, 3.7.4, MS, AT, PS
edexcel A – 4.3, 4.4, 4.16, B – 3.3, 10.1 Maths A
OCR A – 4.2.1, 6.3.1, 6.3.2 – M, PAG, HSW
SQA FH2J 2 (b) (i) (iii), HOAL 2(a)(b)(i)(c)
CCEA 4.4.3
WJEC C1-5, C2 -1, C3-3, App B, Pract.req.
Keywords This study investigates the effect of vasectomies on the behaviour of young bull elephants in a small herd in Pongola Game Reserve in South Africa. After a number of the elephants were vasectomized, behaviour studies were used to determine dominance hierarchies in the bulls under study. The data from these studies were used to produce a rank order for dominance amongst the bull elephants.
The first exercise gets students to identify the 8 bull elephants from identification sheets and photographs. The second part of the study constructs a ‘dyadic dominance matrix’ (pairs of competing individuals) from collected data and then plotting the results in a scatter plot . Reasons and consequences of the study are considered and related to the population control and management of elephants in fenced reserves.
Difficulty:
Research Q1 (identification): 4/10
Research Q2 (Dyad matrix and scatter plot): 7/10