Life-history is an organism's pattern of growth, reproduction and mortality, formed by long-term evolutionary processes and by immediate responses to the environment. This project has 3 main objectives: 1) evaluate the patterns of lifetime reproductive su ccess of male and female brown bears; 2) evaluate the differences in life-history patterns among bear populations, among large carnivore species, and between large carnivore and ungulate species; 3) integration of results from life-history research into m anagement and conservation of brown bear/large carnivore populations. The basis of this project is the long-term individual-based data set of the Scandinavian Brown Bear Project and the cooperation with international researchers with similar databases.
Th ere seems to be considerable variation in the lifetime reproductive success of individual bears. Identifying the factors related to this variation and the characteristics of successful individuals would give insight into evolutionary selective pressures. This knowledge will enable managers to better focus management actions.
Ungulates and large carnivores show some fundamental differences in their ecology, which may be reflected in their life history patterns. Comparing life-history patterns among large c arnivores and between large carnivores and ungulates will improve our evolutionary and biological knowledge and may improve the management of those species.
It will become more important to understand how management practices affect a species. It is sugge sted that the loss of certain individuals has little demographic impact, whereas the loss of certain other individuals can have cascading effects impacting reproductive patterns and effective population size. Also, human harvest may not be random, but sel ect for certain life-history traits, which again may influence populations. Understanding these aspects will improve the management of large populations and aid in the conservation of endangered populations.