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Almaty, Kazakhstan

Blank D.A.,Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography | Blank D.A.,Kazakh Academy of science | Ruckstuhl K.,University of Calgary | Yang W.,Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography
Behavioural Processes | Year: 2014

Most of the vocalizations of Antilopinae males are soft and usually only heard from a very close distance. The goitered gazelle is a rare exception to this rule, and during the rutting period territorial males of this species are among the noisiest antelopes. Rutting vocalization is such an essential part of the rutting behavior in goitered gazelle that adult males have a hypertrophic larynx, the muscle tissues of which increase considerably in size during the rut. We were interested in the frequency and variance with which male goitered gazelles emit their calls depending on an animal's age, reproductive status and time of the year in order to understand the main function of the rutting vocalizations. We found that roaring was mostly related to courting displays, while vocalizations during aggressive displays were less frequent in male-male interactions. Acoustic signals likely enhance courtship displays and also may aid in accelerating female ovulation, promoting synchronization of breeding cycles during the mating and birthing periods, which last only several days for most of the females in our population. We discuss the potential benefits of such behaviors and compare it to other species living in similarly extreme environments. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source

Blank D.,Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography | Blank D.,Kazakh Academy of science | Yang W.,Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography
Journal of Parasitology | Year: 2014

We studied behavioral responses of goitered gazelles (Gazella subgutturosa) to hypodermic botfly (family Hypodermatidae) activity in the naturally arid conditions of Kazakhstan. We found that the reactions of goitered gazelles are very similar to the insect-repelling behaviors of other ruminants and that most behavioral responses of goitered gazelles, such as frantic running, tail movements, and grooming, are not specific to botflies. The seasonal and diurnal changes in the intensity of the behavioral responses of the goitered gazelles coincided with the parasitic activities of botfly maggots. Surprisingly, the group size of the goitered gazelles decreased during the breeding of these parasitic insects instead of increasing, as was expected according to our predictions. As an alternative, the goitered gazelles chose an opposite strategy of dispersion throughout the area to avoid infestation. This strategy is well-known for other species of ungulates and was quite effective, because their infestation rate was relatively low. © American Society of Parasitologists 2014. Source

Heubeck C.,Free University of Berlin | Ergaliev G.,Kazakh Academy of science | Evseev S.,Free University of Berlin
Journal of Sedimentary Research | Year: 2013

The Berkuty Member of the Ediacaran Kyrshabakty Formation in the Malyi Karatau Mountains of southern Kazakhstan immediately underlies some of the world's largest sedimentary phosphate deposits of earliest Cambrian age. This 5-30 m thick unit, exposed over > 40 km strike length, is a complex carbonate unit that was formed by regional seismic deformation of semiconsolidated carbonate. Three subdivisions are recognized. The lower unit (Unit 1), ∼ 3-5 m thick, is regionally shortened by meter-scale flexural folds, and shows thrusting and imbrication of underlying siliciclastic units; local extension is accommodated by soft-sediment boudinage. The middle unit (Unit 2), ∼ 2-5 m thick, consists largely of a megabreccia of angular to subrounded dolomite clasts up to a meter across. The upper unit (Unit 3), up to 3 m thick, consists of microbially laminated dolobindstone, dolorudstone, and flat-pebble conglomerate, cut by syndepositional, low-angle normal faults. Channelization and bank-margin slumping at the top of Unit 3 was followed by karsting, prior to the formation of a high-energy, shallow-water, carbonate-phosphatic coastal environment. We interpret the Berkuty Member as an example of an incompletely and unevenly lithified carbonate platform deformed by at least one large seismic event (Mb greater than approximately 8). Deformation of the lower unit included local sliding, imbrication, and folding, whereas the middle unit was deformed by in-situ disaggregation due to extensive shaking. Regional coseismic or early postseismic uplift of soft sediment, possibly above sea level, led to widespread gravitational collapse, rapid drainage incision, and drainage fill by bank collapse and conglomeratic wedges. While each of the deformational features and stratigraphic elements observed in this unit is not diagnostic of a seismogenic origin, the remarkable lateral extent in outcrop, the wide range of structures related to soft-sediment deformation, their systematic lateral variability, and the internal process-related stratigraphy demonstrates in an exemplary way the manner in which single soft-sediment deformation events can produce a large array of features over a broad area, largely due to minor rheological differences. Copyright © 2013, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology). Source

Blank D.A.,Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography | Blank D.A.,Kazakh Academy of science | Yang W.,Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography
Behavioural Processes | Year: 2014

Aggression in ungulates is a very common behavior which serves a great variety of social functions, the most important of which is territorial protection from intruders. Typically during the rut, territorial males in Antilopinae species have access to mating females, and territoriality leads to a drastic change in the males' lifestyle as they spend most of their aggressive efforts on protecting their territories from other males. In contrast, non-territorial males generally behave in a constant manner all year round, with most of their aggression spent on hierarchical interactions within groups. In this paper, we discuss the differences in aggressive behaviors between territorial and non-territorial males of goitered gazelles (. Gazella subgutturosa). We found that territorial males of this species demonstrated most of their aggressive displays, such as threat postures and space-claim patterns, to other territorial males-neighbors, but rarely chased after them at the end of a conflict. Inversely, territorial males frequently chased non-territorial and immature males while only occasionally demonstrating aggressive patterns. Non-territorial males mostly chased other males in their agonistic interactions, displaying threat postures less often than territorial males, but also showing aggressive patterns not found in territorial males. So we concluded that territorial and non-territorial males of goitered gazelles had different repertoires of aggressive behaviors, and when adult males switched their social status from territorial during the rut to non-territorial outside the rut, they obviously changed their preference in aggressive behaviors accordingly. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. Source

Blank D.A.,Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography | Blank D.A.,Kazakh Academy of science | Yang W.,Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography
Zoology | Year: 2015

The mother-offspring social unit is a universal feature in the social life of all mammals and nursing is the most direct and vital component of maternal investment in young. Living in diverse environments, various ungulate species have different strategies for rearing offspring, from bearing a single, relatively large newborn and supplying only limited amounts of milk, to bearing several relatively small newborns with intensive post-partum lactation. In this paper, we consider the rearing strategy of goitered gazelle with a focus on suckling behavior, which, until now, has never been a subject of special investigation. Adult females of this species in their reproductive prime typically bear twins when environmental conditions are favorable, but the proportion of singletons increases when conditions are unfavorable. We expected that in goitered gazelles suckling intensity would be maximal during the first weeks after birth, and then decrease with the growth of the young; we also expected that twins would demand more energy, but receive significantly less maternal investment per young than singletons. We found that, indeed, suckling behavior had similar dynamics as typical of all bovid species, but our expectation for less maternal investment in twins vs. singletons was wrong. In reality, female goitered gazelles suckled twins significantly more intensively and terminated suckling less often compared to singletons. We concluded that in favorable situations females of high quality have the ability to show significantly more maternal investment in each twin, while singletons are typically born to weaker females. This ability of females to produce mostly twins allows goitered gazelles to take advantage of any favorable opportunity to quickly increase their population in an environment with unpredictable and abrupt yearly changes typical of the arid regions of Central Asia. © 2015 Elsevier GmbH. Source

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