Case Study Hoogland

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Study Site
To expand on the previous research of John L. Hoogland, we plan to study black-tailed prairie dogs’ long-term reproductive success. We expect long-term reproductive success will increase as the population of helpers increases. We hope to receive a $12 million grant from the National Science Foundation to complete this extensive research. We will study the black-tailed prairie dog population in an area of approximately 160 kilometers (km) within the Great Plains region of north-central Kansas weekly during breeding season of 12 weeks for 10 years (described in further detail below). My research team will observe twenty-five prairie dog coteries and their burrows (Hoogland 1995). The Great Plains area, the location in which we will
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We will determine breeding and non-breeding status through blood tests (further details on this procedure are in the section of Observation of the Control Group). We will consider non-breeding black-tailed prairie dogs as helpers if they are vigilant (sentineling >1 min), feed, and/or groom (for >5 secs) the offspring and perform at least one act of helping during the time we observe them. We will adopt Hoogland’s description of a coterie in our long-term study. Hoogland (1985) states each coterie will contain one polygamous male with several females that may or may not breed. We will conduct this experiment as part of a long-term investigation of the reproductive success within the black-tailed prairie dog …show more content…
Thereupon, we will graph the helper pool size for each coterie versus their respective long-term reproductive success. Comparison of these coteries will determine which helper pool size produces the best long-term reproductive success. We expect the groups with a larger helper pool size will have a higher long-term reproductive success when compared with smaller groups, thereby supporting our prediction.
Data Analysis and Concluding Remarks
We will analyze our data through an Excel spreadsheet in which we will graph the total offspring produced and survived versus the number of helpers present within the coteries. We will use a best-fit line to correlate the scatter plot points. The graph produced should indicate that the long-term reproductive success increases as the number of helpers increases through a positive correlated line, which would support our prediction. If there is a horizontal line produced, then the number of helpers does not influence long-term reproductive success in black-tailed prairie dogs. If there is a negative correlation between the number of helpers and black-tailed prairie dogs’ long-term reproductive success, then an increase in helpers adversely affects offspring production and

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